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1-in-4 Graduates Plan on Becoming an Entrepreneur

We report on one of the most interesting findings from our “Life After University Survey” this year.

As The Apprentice closes for another year, thousands of new graduates are entering the tough world of business for themselves.

With graduate unemployment rates remaining high at 8.6%, a recent survey by Save the Graduate reveals that 26% of this year’s graduates are ‘seriously considering’ working for themselves, up 15% on last year.

Students at The University of Manchester are the most enterprising in 2013, and one Manchester graduate shared their reasons for going solo:

I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs, but with no real response from employers I’ve concluded that the current job market is just too saturated with graduates and degrees don’t mean as much these days. So I may as well try and make my own way

The growth in graduate entrepreneurs could be pinned against many factors, from popular TV programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den to government initiatives.  The reality of high job competition is also deflating the once optimistic career aspirations of graduates.

23% of those surveyed cited high job competition as a major challenge to landing a job, with 18% also saying a lack of experience is a significant barrier.

Overall, the average 2013 graduate expects to achieve a starting salary of just £17,600pa, with 15% setting their sights below £12,000pa and 63% considering an unpaid internship in a bid to get a toe on the career ladder.

With the traditional employment path still rocky, the alternative route of starting a business in a cultural and economic climate which increasingly supports entrepreneurs is tempting for many new graduates.

Owen Burek, a recent graduate and founder of Save the Graduate comments:

The Class of 2013 appear to be more entrepreneurial than ever, which can only be a good thing in a stalled economy. Entrepreneurs have traditionally been the underdogs who bypassed higher education to make their millions, but I believe that we will see more and more young entrepreneurs passing through our universities due to circumstance coupled with wider support.

I started my own business in a university business incubator, and there’s been a noticeable growth in entrepreneur societies and enterprise events across UK universities in recent years, all of which encourage students to consider this viable path once they graduate

If you’re interested in starting your own business, head over to our self-employment guide.


Source: Survey statistics are taken from the Save the Graduate ‘Life After University Survey’ 2013. Sample size was 2,111 undergraduate students and recent graduates in the UK between 3-15 July 2013.

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