Six in 10 young adults plan to be their own boss by the age of 30, study finds | City & Business | Finance

Six in 10 young adults plan to be their own boss by the age of 30 – with thousands already taking steps towards starting their own business, research has found. A poll, of 2,000 adults, found that almost two-thirds of Gen Zs (63 percent), born after 1996, have already tried their hand at a side hustle or small business venture.

And many have begun putting plans in place, with 22 percent looking to become their own boss within the next 12 months, while 13 percent are considering making a move in one or two years’ time.

It also emerged the most appealing job sectors for Gen Z adults include food and drink (22 percent), entertainment (19 percent), and fashion (18 percent).

The research was commissioned to mark the launch of the AXA Startup Angel competition, with top prizes of £25,000 for two aspiring entrepreneurs, as well as business insurance for a year, and dedicated mentoring on offer.

Deepak Soni, the insurer’s UK director of small business insurance, said: “Being your own boss can give you freedom – but it also requires a huge amount of hard work, passion, and dedication.

“It’s fantastic to see there’s a new wave of would-be entrepreneurs, who are relying on enthusiasm to compensate for their lack of entrepreneurial experience.

“We’re keen to support them on their journey, because we know that running your own business can feel like an uphill struggle at times.”

The research also examined the attitudes towards entrepreneurship from older generations, too – with millennials, aged 28-43, similarly eager to become their own boss. More than a third of this age group (37 percent) said they would like to start their own business or side hustle at some point.

However, the desire to do so seems to dwindle with ages, as just a quarter (26 percent) of Gen X, aged 44-59, are keen to go it alone in business – while only eight percent of Boomers (aged 60-69) want to take the plunge.

The motivating factors behind wanting to start a business or side hustle varied greatly depending on age – with the most important factor for the older generations, Boomers and Gen X, cited as being their own boss (44 percent, and 45 percent, respectively).

Meanwhile, the younger, Gen Z demographic favoured personal growth (35 percent), and following a passion (38 percent).

In an ever-changing job market, nearly a third of Gen Z (31 percent) believe being their own boss would give them security – far more so than older generations (just 10 percent among Gen X, and nine percent of Boomers).

Both millennials and Gen Z were also more selfless in their outlook to starting a business – with helping their local community named as a driving factor for 21 percent, and 16 percent, respectively.

And similarly, the barriers stopping those polled from taking the plunge into entrepreneurship also varied greatly by age. Gen Z cited a fear of failure (42 percent) and lack of confidence (40 percent) as obstacles – while just one in 10 Boomers (nine percent) flagged failure as a concern holding them back.

But across all age groups, a lack of money was the most common denominator stopping people from ditching their day job (29 percent) – with personal savings (47 percent), and small business loans (21 percent), considered the top finance options of choice.

The research, carried out via, also identified the three most important characteristics of running your own business – including being a hard worker (64 percent), innovative thinking (53 percent), and having a long-term vision (47 percent).

AXA has created a report into “understanding the business owners of the future”, titled “The Startup Angel Report 2024”.

Spokesman Deepak Soni added: “It’s fascinating to lift the lid on the mindsets of would-be entrepreneurs across different age groups. There’s a whole host of motivating factors for becoming your own boss, as well as various issues that can hold you back.

“Money is an obstacle for many – but having someone to mentor and guide you through uncharted territory can offer the reassurance that you’re on the right track.

“The AXA Startup Angel competition offers a financial boost, plus expert mentoring, to get an entrepreneur on the road to success.”

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