Half of millennials would rather start their own business than work for someone else

Young people — well people 40 years old and under — are fans of being in charge at work.

Around 49% of millennials said they plan to start their own company within the next three years, while 62% of them reported having their ideal company “that they would love to start,” found America’s SBDC Network  and the Center for Generational Kinetics in a study. The researchers considered a small business “an independently owned and operated company that employs fewer than 500 people.”

Those were just two findings, but there were many others across generations.

“It is clear that the entrepreneurial spirit is not only alive and well in America, but that people are eager to find help to build their dream business,” Charles “Tee” Rowe, president of America’s SBDC, said in a statement.

It seems like a typical millennial characteristic is not being particularly thrilled with the idea of working for a big company and navigating through a hierarchy, as their parents may have done.

How workers feel about starting companies

According to the study, millennials like being the boss— 61% surveyed think that “that there is more job security in owning your own business than in working for someone else,” versus 64% of Baby Boomers who reported that it’s the other way around.

The study classified millennials as people born in the 18 years between 1977 and 1995, Gen X as people born in the 11 years between 1965 and 1976, and Baby Boomers as people born in the 18 years between 1946 and 1964.

While 47% of respondents said that the possibility of earning cash would be the biggest reason for them to start their own company, 62% said that they would rather have one that is very financially successful than one “that is a lot of fun.”

Additionally, 62% of millennials reported that “they would rather take the money, while the perception is that they just want to have fun,” and 38% of them were working for a new start-up in at the beginning.

The researchers found out what’s getting in millennials’ way of establishing a company— according to the study, more than 13 million think that being unaware of how to operate one or where to seek guidance is the top reason why they don’t do so.

Men and women judge different cash needs for companies

What was consistent across the board: a huge proportion of all people of every generation would quit their jobs now, if given the chance. Around 41% of all generations surveyed would jump ship right now, abandoning their current jobs to start their own company in the next six months “if they had the tools and resources they need.” Around 54% of millennials said they would do so (more than any other group).

Roughly 43% of all respondents said that money or the availability of it as “the most important resource” to establish a company. There was a big gender difference in judging how much money would be necessary to start a company: 63% of women reported that gaining access to it is the hardest part of establishing one, compared to 45% of men.

Why young people don’t prefer big corporations

The Accenture Strategy 2016 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study found that only 14% of 2016 graduates would rather work for a big company, while 44% of them would rather be employed at company of medium size, “or a small, entrepreneurial or start-up business.”

The online survey was given in the US— 1,005 2016 college grads on their way to the workforce responded, and 1,013 graduates from the classes of 2014 and 2015 did.

The study said that based on their research, it seems like “the next generation” of workers are afraid of “being lost in the dense forest of a large corporation. They are concerned their individual needs and talents will be neither noticed nor nurtured. They are looking for more of a ‘me’ experience where their passions will be acknowledged and their career path customized to their interests.”

Luckily for members of younger generations, there are plenty of startups that look for fresh talent constantly. In the consumer technology industry, startups are all across the country, and beyond, providing opportunities for those looking to join smaller companies as java software developers, devops engineers, and quality assurance engineers.

The tech industry is ever-growing, continuing to claim an increasingly larger portion of U.S. office leasing activity, according to CBRE’s annual Tech-30 report. In 2019, Ottawa, Canada was named the number one city to watch, likely to be the next big tech hub.

Katherine LaVelle, managing director, Accenture Strategy, commented on the research in a statement.

“Graduates are hungry for a culture with opportunities for rapid advancement and the ability to actually love the work that they do…This means employers will need to provide an employee experience that offers the flexibility to participate in project-based work, allowing for on-the-job learning and the opportunity to work across different roles with a small-team feel,” LaVelle said.

While millennials shouldn’t be thought of as a monolithic category, it’s clear that when considering them in the context of work, they have something in common with other age groups.

The Ladders/SurveyMonkey Millennial Workforce Poll found that for the Silent Generation, Generation X, and millennials, flexible hours were the most important feature for them when looking for a position.

Young workers also want meaning from their jobs— perhaps if large corporations emphasize that this is an important goal, they will be able to attract and retain more millennial talent.