The relationship between millennials and the concept of “entrepreneurship” is nuanced and complex.
Millennials clearly value entrepreneurship, and 67% of this group says that their goals involve eventually starting a business. Statistics show that millennials are always “on”, motivated to make a difference, and consider flexible hours to be a key to boosting productivity.
Unfortunately, millennials do not necessarily walk the walk – yet, anyways.
In 2014, only 2% of millennials in the U.S. were self-employed, compared to 7.6% and 8.3% for Gen X and Boomers respectively. This is partly understandable, since millennials are younger and less financially established. However, the situation is worse than one would think. For example, most millennials have less than $1,000 in savings, and many have paralyzing amounts of student debt, rising debt delinquencies, stagnating household income, and a fear of failure.
Are Millennials More Entrepreneurial Than Past Generations?
Today’s infographic from Online MBA Page shows statistics on entrepreneurship for America’s most interesting generation.
It appears that a confluence of factors is set to eventually make millennials the most entrepreneurial generation ever.
The proliferation of technology, the growth in available private startup capital, and the millennial mindset are all things that should help enable a shift to entrepreneurship. All millennials have to do is take advantage of the circumstances around them.
The challenge? Between 2004 and 2014, the average balance size held by student debt borrowers increased 77%, while the amount of student borrowers increased 89%. Meanwhile, home ownership for people aged 25-34 has decreased 10% from 2004-2015, and more Americans aged 25-34 say that “fear of failure” is preventing them from owning their own businesses.
In other words, the financial headwinds that millennials are facing are real. Understandably, it’s difficult to take on the risk of starting a business when living paycheck to paycheck, or when an ugly student loan is sitting on the personal balance sheet.
With a questionable macroeconomic outlook and central banks painted into a corner, it’s hard to see how this situation will be resolved anytime soon. If and when it does, look for many of the previously “reluctant” millennials to take advantage and finally hand in resignations to their current career tracks.