Generation Entrepreneur: This Year’s Students Want to Go It Alone

his year’s students have grown up with the backdrop of recession and difficult employment conditions and as a result almost half say this has made them want to work for themselves more. Overall one tenth of young people plan on setting up their own business upon graduation.

HSBC surveyed young people due to start university this Autumn, as well as current university students, on their attitude towards employment after university. Current students are less entrepreneurial than this year’s students, with only 16 per cent wanting to work for themselves after graduation.

Many students still favour job security, as half would prefer to work for an established business when they graduate. However, just 15 per cent of those planning on attending university this year say they intend to complete an unpaid internship, suggesting many are not prepared to work for free to secure their dream job. A further 40 per cent say they’ll secure a paid job that’s relevant to their chosen career while at university in order to improve their employability.

Vocational courses on the rise

The trend for students to opt for increasingly vocational courses continues, with three quarters of students who have applied to start university this year planning on studying a vocational subject. This compares to 66 per cent of current students who say their course is vocational. UCAS applications show an increase in vocational degrees, with subjects such as Medicine, Engineering and Nursing all receiving a boost from 2008-2013.

Andy Mielczarek, head of retail products at HSBC, said: “Many of this year’s students were aged 12 or 13 when the financial crisis hit in 2008, growing up during the recession, the subsequent years of slow economic growth and a tough job market. On top of this, tuition fees have risen so it’s only natural that this year’s students want to maximise their return on investment. Students are increasingly seeing self-employment as an attractive career option. They’re also choosing more vocational subjects and making sure any part time job is relevant to their chosen career.”