Young adults are gearing up to become their own boss by 30

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.

A poll of 2,000 adults found of those in the Gen Z age group born after 1996, 63 per cent have already tried their hand at a side hustle or small business venture.

Many have already put plans in place, with 22 per cent looking to become their own boss within the next 12 months, and 13 per cent considering making a move in one or two years’ time.

Jobs in food and drink (22 per cent), entertainment (19 per cent) and fashion (18 per cent) are the most appealing sectors for Gen Z adults.

The research was commissioned to mark the launch of the AXA Startup Angel competition with top prizes of £25,000 for two aspiring entrepreneurs, 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 of older generations too, with millennials (aged 28-43) also keen to be their own boss. More than a third (37 per cent) said they would like to start their own business or side hustle at some point, and of those in Gen X (44-59), 26 per cent are keen to go it alone in business while only eight per cent of boomers (60-69) want to take the plunge.

The motivating factors behind wanting to start a business or side hustle varied greatly depending on age.

Personal growth and following their passions are the most important factors for Gen ZPersonal growth and following their passions are the most important factors for Gen Z
Personal growth and following their passions are the most important factors for Gen Z | SWNS

The older generations of Gen X and boomers value being their own boss (45 and 44 per cent respectively) as the most important factor, while the younger demographic of Gen Z favoured personal growth (35 per cent) and following a passion (38 per cent).

In an ever-changing job market, 31 per cent of Gen Z believe being their own boss would give them security – far more so than older generations (just 10 per cent for Gen X and nine per cent for boomers).

Both millennials and Gen Z were more selfless in their outlook to starting a business too, with helping their local community (21 per cent and 16 per cent respectively) being a driving factor.

The barriers stopping those polled from taking the plunge into entrepreneurship also varied greatly. Gen Z cited a fear of failure (42 per cent) and lack of confidence (40 per cent) as obstacles – while just nine per cent of boomers flagged failure as a concern stopping them.

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

Being a hard worker (64 per cent), innovative thinking (53 per cent) and having a long-term vision (47 per cent) were the three most important characteristics, according to the research carried out via

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

Spokesperson 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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