Has a lack of flexibility pushed workers to start their own businesses?

Employment & Skills | Surveys
Flexible working

PeoplePerHour has today revealed that 71% of Britain’s employed workforce have considered starting their own business with the highest number (46%) of employees over 45 unafraid and ready to take the plunge.

Prospective entrepreneurs are jumping from employment to achieve what PeoplePerHour calls “the work dream”, which equates to having a better work life balance (39%), flexible hours (32%) and being able to do something they feel passionately about (43%).

The study of over 1000 current employees in the UK found that the majority have little or no access to flexible working options, including working from home (64%), annualised hours (64%), flexitime (57%), job sharing (77%) and compressed time (73%).

This is particularly important to mature workers. 45-54 year old employees surveyed are working longer hours than most other age groups. Seventy eight percent of 45-64 year olds are in a career they are simply not passionate about and 62% feel that they don’t receive enough merit for the hours they put in.

The good news for this mature group of workers over 45 is that one in three (38%) of them have a business idea. Forty six percent don’t see any barriers to taking the plunge, compared with 39% of those under the age of 45. Financial stability is by far the biggest barrier to starting out on their own for all age groups (76%).

But is the dream even close to the reality of running a business?

PeoplePerHour compared the responses from the employed workforce with opinions of over 290 small business founders. Whilst many mature workers are considering starting their own business, currently 81% of small business owners surveyed actually started their business before the age of 45.

What is consistent however is the importance of flexibility with 54% relishing the opportunity to work flexible hours and 47% saying they are driven by having a better work-life balance. The good news for aspiring entrepreneurs is that whilst 73% of founders were afraid of not having regular income and 53% were afraid of failing before they started their business, a resounding 66% now consider their business to be a success.

“It’s proof that if you can remove or at least reduce the fears, then starting your own business can lead to great personal success,” says Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder & CEO of PeoplePerHour. “Whether you start your business at 25 or 45, you can realise your career ambitions. Access to technology has significantly reduced the risks associated with running your own business. Today, you can source talent flexibly and cost efficiently, you can work remotely and minimise your overhead. It’s technology like PeoplePerHour that reduces the risk and drives the change.”

Xenios continues: “Lack of flexibility in the daily grind is a big driver for leaving the workforce and starting a business. Despite the rise of new working communities complete with pool tables, coffee machines and beer at 3pm, the reality is that the workforce aspires to the flexibility and rewards of running their own business. What’s great to see is that mature workers are least afraid to take the plunge. You no longer have to be young to turn your idea into business reality.”

He concludes: “Being an entrepreneur has endless potential – and we are a nation ready to embrace our work dream.”

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