Tough jobs market breeds new generation of entrepreneurs

11th August 2014


With steady, permanent jobs still hard to come by young people are planning to work for themselves when they graduate.

Taking matters into their own hands, 24% of students starting university this autumn who were surveyed by HSBC, said they wanted to run their own business when they graduate.

Having grown up in the shadow of recession and difficult employment conditions, 47% of those planning to work for themselves said economic conditions had pushed them to want to be their own boss. This compares to 16% of current university students who want to work for themselves.

Despite the increase in entrepreneurial spirit, half of those starting university later in the year said they would prefer to work for an established company. A total of 15% said they would take on an unpaid internship on graduating, suggesting many are prepared to work for free to secure their dream job.

Four in 10 said they would take on a job while studying that is relevant to the career they are studying for in order to increase their employability.

Andy Mielczarek, head of retail products at HSBC, said: ‘Many of this year’s students were aged 12 or 13 when the financial crisis hit in 2008, growing up during the recession, the subsequent years of slow economic growth and a tough job market.

‘On top of this tuition fees have risen so it’s only natural that this year’s students want to maximise their return on investment. Students are increasingly seeing self-employment as an attractive career option.’

He added that students are also choosing more vocational courses, with three-quarters choosing a practical course. This compares to 66% of current students.

University applications show increased interest in medicine, engineering and nursing between 2008 and 2013.

Mielczarek said that even with a degree, students currently attending university felt it will take them four months to secure a graduate position and new students believe it will take them 3.8 months. Prospective students expect to receive £25,800 in their graduate roles while those at university expect to earn £27,000 a year – however, the average graduate salary in 2012 was £21,702.

‘It is important that students consider both the outcome of university study and the practicality of funding it,’ he said. ‘Understanding the financial implications of further education is an important step. If parents plan early and regularly save it will make the financial burden of supporting children through university much easier to manage.’


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