Nearly 60% Of Gen Y Professionals Think They’re Entrepreneurs

Nearly 60% Of Gen Y Professionals Think They’re Entrepreneurs

A new report commissioned by online job marketplace oDesk has found that the majority of Generation Y workers identify themselves as entrepreneurs and those in nine-to-five jobs plan to quit in the next two years. Clearly, Mark Zuckerberg and The Social Network have a lot to answer for…

[credit provider=”Columbia Pictures” url=””]

oDesk’s Millennials and the Future of Work report surveyed 3,193 professionals worldwide with a focus on workers in the 19–30 age bracket (AKA Generation Y). The researchers discovered a growing trend of younger workers pursuing their own business ideas rather than pulling a nine-to-five for a boss.

    Key results found in the report include:

  • 72% of those still at “regular” jobs want to quit to be entirely independent; 61% say they will likely quit within two years
  • Freedom is the top reason those at “regular” jobs would like to quit; and 89% say they prefer to work when and where they choose
  • 90% of independent workers indicated that being an entrepreneur reflects having a certain mindset (rather than being strictly defined as having started a company)
  • Of the freelancing Millennials surveyed, 58% of those familiar with the term “entrepreneur” classify themselves as one

“Millennials are pushing back against traditional work barriers at hierarchical organisations that require slow, staggered career progression,” the report explains. “Thanks to entrepreneurial success stories such as Zuckerberg, they now know that it’s possible to spot enormous opportunities and create their own very unique paths.”

The infographic below gives an overview of the report’s chief findings:

You can check out the full details of the report here.

What do you think about this study? Are we entering a new business era of nature-born entrepreneurs? Or are Gen Y workers just lazy, entitled and full of themselves? Give your two cents in the comments section below.


  • I classify an entrepreneur as someone who works in many fields using transferrable skills, personally and would agree with the research.

  • Look on the bright side of things. This means that there will be more opportunities for the 40% left back to advance.

  • As an entrepreneur with my own small business, allow me to translate

    work wherever = work everywhere
    work whenever = work all the time
    travel while working = never have a real holiday

    • Agree 100%. I also run my own business and there is never down time. Although I am lucky as well that I love what I do and my business is also my hobby I guess!
      Having your own IT business may seem fun and while it can be, it is also very hard work to remain competitive and relevant otherwise it is soeasy to be bypassed

    • My sister is a contractor who works for a few different companies like Qld health and some others, shes gone from making 65k a year to making almost 200k a year.

      Let’s also translate something else: Making 200k a year?

      Holidays = noone else pays you holiday pay, you save it up yourself and have to fund that ‘gap’ period.
      Tax = You pay a buttload of it. You pay it quarterly usually to keep on top of it if youre smart. You really HAVE to keep on top of it or you can end up in major debt.
      Super = You pay your *own*.
      Insurance = Pay your own.
      If you can manage to employ yourself and make it work its wonderful I guess, but my sister is *always* on call for the multiple companies she contracts out to (not just QH, theres an abattoir ((funny I know lol)) and a lawyer, hence the high pay)

      All that aside, she makes it work for herself and she says she’d never go back to being employed by someone else. Me? I’m heading into being a teacher, so I guess I’ll always work for ‘the man’. lol.

      • It usually does work out better, if just for not being tied to a desk and rigid business hours alone – but also financially. Overheads when working from home most of the time are usually also a lot lower than at the office too, since most people tend to spend more during the day.

    • I completely agree, but also from my own experience found that you can integrate it into your life in a way where it’s just a few seconds here and there which isn’t so bad – but can bring quite a decent amount of stress if not handled appropriately (I highly recommend beer)

  • It’s all just meaningless data without previous data showing how many had this plan in Gen X or earlier

    • It’s not meaningless, it’s without contrast/comparison. It still obviously tells quite a lot about the generation, just not any trend..

      • It tells me that the annoying Gen-Y ‘developers’ I’ve worked with recently are not the exception.
        “I want to start a business in network security!” + “I don’t understand how TCP headers work”.

        (That certainly doesn’t represent ALL Gen-Y folk, nor all those who think they are entrepreneurs, just a subset who I have had the misfortune to be exposed to recently).

        • Still, one of the characteristics of many entrepreneurs is false confidence (that can be impressive to potential customers and investors) born out of not knowing what they don’t know. So, this would fit in a sad sort of way. Can you tell that I roll my eyes at the vast majority of under-30 entrepreneurs at being over-full of themselves relative to what they’re actually capable of delivering in business value to their customers?

    • It’s also likely to be highly biased towards entrepreneurs and the self employed as the survey was done by a freelancing firm.

  • i do not understand the concept of becoming an entrepreneur to have more freedom. Although i have not done it myself, all of the entrepreneur’s i have worked with have basically had to sink their entire lives into their fledgling business to keep them afloat, usually working far more than they ever did working in an established business

  • This also has a lot to do with companies valuing long term employees less and less these days. I’ve seen it myself. Making payrises harder to get, long service leave harder to attain, pushing incentives for long term employments out the window by pushing shitty contracts on employees etc. Not ALL companies do it, (believe it or not? GE Money gives some OUTSTANDING incentives to stay with them long term, of ALL companies), but a lot of companies actually appreciate the short term turnover of low level staff as they can avoid things like holiday pay, sick pay, long service pay etc.

    • Many businesses these days (like my current employer) adopt open book management as it’s a requirement of many pseudo-certifications/accreditations required for anything related to government money (as an example), but it’s also all about valuing employees at the lowest level – the real money makers.

      Many (also like my current employer) also adopt profit sharing programs, which results in a tidy monthly bonus every month you make money, depending on how well you did (so it’s also a performance driver).

      • Absolutely, the downside of todays world, is there’s a certification for anything and everything. We had someone employed in my previous job with a, I shit you not, certificate in ‘social networking’. I STILL have no f***ing clue in what that is. lol.

    • Yup, I’ve seen this over and over again in the IT industry over the past 25 years. Even at places that you’d think would hoard those with valuable product knowledge, such as Microsoft, the attitude pretty much is that they’ll use you hard for a few years, and then toss all but the most politically successful few out as used up, too old or having too many family obligations now.

      I’m currently in a company that does value employees over the long term, because its products evolve (rather than completely changes) over time, and knowledge obtained 15 years ago is still relevant and in some cases very rare — much like the understanding of sockets-level programming or RPC in Microsoft Windows, for example — and still in demand within a specific industry niche. And you really see it in the way that people who work here are selected (the hiring process often takes more than 3 months and involves tests(!)), trained (3-5 weeks of training per year are not unusual) and assigned work (specifically according to the interests they’ve expressed, whenever possible, and often because they’ve come up with a project and volunteered themselves for it — it seems that this criteria is used even over “what they’re most skilled at doing”). It makes for a very pleasant, intellectually challenging place to work if you’re self-motivated (although it has the usual big company issues of things requiring inter-group cooperation often not happening as quickly as you want), and as a result, people who can really advocate for the company and its products to customers. The company doesn’t offer a pool room, free transit passes, free lunch or even free soft drinks. It “just” offers smart, grounded coworkers, the resources you need to do your work, a good amount of trust in staff (we can work from home when we want, but most people don’t because the work environment is good, for example), and reasonable deadlines that mean you get to have a life at least 10 months out of the year, and generally more. Because, you know, if you want people to stick around, they have to like you, like or at least have professional respect for their coworkers, not be forced to sacrifice stuff outside the office to excel, etc.

      If you’re going to be a wage slave, that is definitely the kind of company to look for. Otherwise, I think you’re doing just as well and arguably better in many cases to have a “portfolio career” in which you hitch your star to a concept or set of concepts, rather than to a company name.

      • This sounds like a really good company to work for – as you say, they are becoming much rarer these days.

      • Presumably because he’s a King Douchebag. Then again, my statistical study of Gen-Y professionals says that 480%* of them are douchebags too, so maybe the comparison is apt after all.

        * Margin of error: ±∞

          • He’s done a lot of douchebaggery over the years. His attitude towards his customers and their personal information has, in the past, been atrocious.

          • I’m unsure what actually makes you think this. I fully realise it’s the common consensus – but they’ve literally spent a metric asstonne of money all trying to make people happy and quell their fears that they are doing anything wrong with your data and trying to make it as simple as possible for people to understand.

            Maybe you can find some concrete reference to something specifically douchey he did that wasn’t
            anecdotal (not a user just whinging because they don’t personally like something).

            About the biggest reference I could think of was that while they were overhauling their privacy policies during that time, they usually reset everyones settings since the new settings were completely differently formatted, thus not able to transparently be transferred.. However there was always a prompt telling people they had done so, advising them to read up and a one click link to go to their privacy centre type page.

            Hell, they’ve never even tried to hide policy changes – unlike some other companies who have snuck many things through only to be discovered – it’s just they put out the changes and people who are change averse (most people in reality) go “ohh I dont like that why cant it stay how it is”

            In reality, mark zuckerberg is a (in many cases founding) member of some very cool initiatives for human rights, and digital privacy, contributes a boatload to charity, looks after their employee’s and just tries to continually provide an updated experience to their users.

  • Clearly, Mark Zuckerberg and The Social Network have a lot to answer for…

    they do?

  • They forgot the infographic at the bottom showing them at age 45 with their dreams crushed as life hands them lesson after lesson that the only thing that have in abundance is hubris.

    • And they forgot to find out how many had already tried to become ‘entrepreneurs’ and failed, only to go back into being employed but unwilling to be honest about their failure.

      Trying to say that entrepreneurship is a mindset is a terrific cop-out. It might be a mindset, but without action & results it is just fantasy. To me, the failure rate is far more revealing than the delusion rate.

  • So, in reality, this is just a survey asking Gen Y people what their working dreams and aspirations are.
    “Or are Gen Y workers just lazy, entitled and full of themselves?” Correct. But exactly the same as previous generations during the same age period.

  • My feelings of entitlement when young primarily originated with my work ethic. IE, I’m willing to work my a$$ off, and I want to find someone for whom I can do this, who’ll reward me for it. It wasn’t just, “I’m me, I’m FABULOUS, people should consider me a godsend, and every idea I run with to be genius, and be glad to pay me for whatever it is that I offer because I say it’s good, and if no one takes me up on it, they’re all just clueless.”

  • This report is pretty skewed – if you open the full report, the research was based on participants who had been on Odesk recently. Meaning those that responded were already in some way connected to freelancing. There are lots and lots of Gen Y in corporations that would not have had any contact with Odesk and had they responded, the results would probably be different. I think it’s dangerous to use these results and apply them to the whole Generation – some people are not cut out for entrepreneurship and do not have a full business mindset, just as in other generations and instead prefer security and not having to think so much for oneself.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!