Graduate jobs are being ditched in favour of self-employment, a new study reveals.

Over half (56%) of students, which equates to 1.2 million people in university education, are considering setting up their own business, instead of getting on the corporate career ladder.

Exploring the trend of modern student businesses, the research, carried out by leading print company Solopress, found that launching a start-up was a more appealing lifestyle for the newest generation of workers.

Surprisingly, nearly a third (32%) of students consider starting their own company in their first 12 months of university, with 38% certain it would give them a better chance of being successful.

The study also looks into the benefits students think self-employment offers that employers don’t. Nearly half (47%) say it’s down to flexible working, 45% wanted to be their own boss and over a fifth (28%) thought working for themselves offers a better work/life balance.

For over a third (36%) however, it’s the financial benefits that lead them to choose self-employment. Despite the average salary for UK graduates sitting at £19k-£22k, over a quarter (27%) expect around £25k, while one in ten expect at least £30k meaning the workforce is falling behind when it comes to starting income.

Regardless of increased internet access and the ability to work remotely, nearly half (45%) of students think setting up a business while studying is harder now than it was for previous generations. Over two thirds (68%) think this is down to too much competition, and over a half (57%) think the issue lies with lack of available funding and support.

It’s clear that students are motivated to kick-start their own businesses, as over three quarters (78%) say they are happy to invest savings to get started. Alternatively, two fifths (40%) would happily take out a loan and one in five (21%) would turn to the bank of mum and dad.

Aron Priest, Co-Founder at Solopress commented: “With more students and graduates freelancing and launching their own businesses over jumping on the career ladder, we wanted to find out what’s really pushing this new way of working. It’s interesting to see that despite the initial investment costs, risks of starting a business and the competition, the majority of students are considering starting-up over graduate roles.

“It’s clear that hard work and risk doesn’t seem to put the new generation of workers off of running a business. Young graduates are ambitious and UK businesses really need to get to grips with what will motivate them to stay in the workforce. After all, we don’t want to be losing talented workers.”

Solopress has launched a whitepaper: "Modern Student Business: The New Co-worker" in an attempt to highlight the need for UK businesses to adapt to a modern way of working to ensure talent is kept in the workforce.

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