Whether a result of the recession or not, it is hard to escape the sense that entrepreneurialism is stirring in the UK of late. And such a feeling has been all but confirmed by Invest in Cornwall, an inward investment agency run by Cornwall Development Company and funded by the EU. A new comprehensive piece of research by the agency reveals that 1.8 million Brits are aiming to open their new business in the next five years, with 26% of the working population planning a change in career direction within the same timeframe.
Indeed, of those looking to take a different path, over a quarter (26%) are looking to go the start-up route, with 16% aiming to set up a business at home. Meanwhile, 19% wish to train for a different profession and 12% wish to change profession without retraining. And more than one in ten people (12%) wish to relocate for their career change, either in the UK (8%) or internationally (4%).
Of course, this all begs the question of why such a significant proportion of the UK’s workers are looking for a change of direction. Well, there is no shame at all in the fact that 24% are hoping to fulfil their long term aspirations. More worrisome perhaps are the 23% who wish to earn more money – perhaps not that much of a revelation – and the further 23% that feel unfulfilled with little chance of career progression. The remainder cite a change in personal circumstances (9%), a wish for more variety in their career (8%) and the anticipation of redundancy (5%) as reasons for wanting to seek an alternative career path.
The research also reveals what specific sectors our budding entrepreneurs are looking to set up shop in, with the professional and scientific industries attracting 10% of the working population. And the same percentage would like to pursue opportunities in the wholesale, retail and vehicle repair trade industry, or the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector. Meanwhile, the arts, entertainment and recreation arena also has some attraction, with 7% of us wishing to start a performing arts or fitness related business.
Given the prominence of technology in this day and age, it may come as some surprise that only 5% of would-be business owners are looking at opportunities in the information and communications sector, with both the accommodation and food trade and financial and insurance industry also attracting one in twenty entrepreneurs. Other favoured industries include service activities (4%), real estate (4%), construction (3%), transportation and storage (3%) and administrative and support services (3%).
Suzanne Bond, chief executive of Cornwall Development Company, said: “It is interesting to see that so many people are planning on reinvigorating their careers by changing paths over the next five years and, in particular, that large numbers are willing to take the positive and bold step to start their own business and become their own boss.”
As already alluded to, the difficult economic circumstances of the past five years probably have a large part to play in people’s desire to go their own way. But let’s not let that overshadow the fact that the UK is becoming a hotbed for innovation and ambition in the eyes of the wider business community.