More young people 'plan to work for themselves' in a highly competitive job market

A study by the Prince's Trust shows the credit crunch has inspired more young people to think about setting up their own business.

The charity canvassed over 1,600 people between the ages of 16 and 30. Almost a third expected to be self-employed in the future, while one in four planned to be their own boss within five years.

Only one in 20 Britons aged 16 to 30 currently work for themselves. However, over a quarter of those polled by the Prince's Trust said they were increasingly considering becoming self-employed.

The study, conducted with the help of the Royal Bank of Scotland, shows 27% of unemployed young people would rather try to make a living for themselves than continue to struggle to find work in a highly competitive job market.

Prince's Trust chief executive Martina Milburn said the research highlights an "increasingly entrepreneurial mood" among young people who are having difficulty finding work.

"Five years on from the start of the recession, youth unemployment remains high and many are seeing self-employment as a way to break the cycle of joblessness," she added.

"It is critical we nurture young people's passion for business and invest in the next generation."

Figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate there were 842,000 18 to 34 year-olds working for themselves from April to June 2012. The total was up 71,000, or 9%, on the figure recorded for the same three-month period in 2008.

The YouGov study discovered 43% of young people had already profited from entrepreneurial activity, like freelancing or selling their own product.

Professor Michael Hay, from London Business School, said the UK has traditionally had less young entrepreneurs than other countries. However, he believes the latest report shows young people's attitudes to self-employment could well be changing.

"It is important that the next generation of young entrepreneurs get the support they need from organisations like the Prince's Trust," Prof Hay added.

"In the current climate, helping young people to beat unemployment and set up businesses that employ other people can only be a good thing for the UK economy."

Copyright Press Association 2013