Unless you’re James Damore, you’re hardly likely to claim that women underperform compared to men in any modern working environment. After all, just look at the example set by entrepreneurs: from Wendy Tan White to Sarah Wood, the UK startup ecosystem is full of female founders who’ve proven that talent knows no gender. As a matter of fact, it seems as if Britain is brimming with more budding business-owners who are women than men, according to research from FreeAgent, the software for freelancers company.
Having surveyed 1,000 people working in Britain, FreeAgent revealed that while 13% of women plan to start their own company within the year, only 9% of men are doing the same. And those numbers may grow: a smashing 52% of women dream of becoming their own boss in comparison with 46% of their male counterparts. In total, 11% of working Brits plan to launch a business in 2018. Almost half of the people polled would like to become their own boss at some point in their career, while just a quarter want to start a business in the future but don’t yet have any concrete plans to do so.
While women seem more interested than men in joining the ranks of Britain’s entrepreneurs, the researchers identified a similar divide between generations. In fact, it seems as if younger people are more interested in starting their own company than older workers are. For instance, 57% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 34-year-olds said that they’d like to start a business in 2018 and this proportion dropped only slightly to 54% for people between 35 and 44. However, when looking at workers aged between 45 and 55, the research found that only 45% of workers aged between 45 and 55 had desired to launch a company – and this dropped to just 39% of those over 55.
While the top motivators to kick off a career as an entrepreneur were to achieve a better work-life balance and to have more freedom to choose the work they do, many are concerned about launching a business. For instance, 35% worry about the financial burden of setting it up and 34% are anxious about managing its finances. Moreover, 30% felt that they lacked the confidence to run a company.
Commenting on the research, Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “Starting your own business can be an extremely rewarding, if daunting, move for people to make with their career. The desire for a better work-life balance and the ability to choose the type of work they perform are key reasons for many people who want to start a business – it’s interesting to see that the younger generations are the most driven to become their own boss.”
While it’s sad that almost a third would-be entrepreneurs aren’t confident in their own business acumen, it’s still encouraging to see more young women eager to set up a startup. And with the last few years having seen the launch of a number of networks and organisations aimed at helping women find their feet as business owners, we’re feeling bullish about future female founders’ chances of success.