Office, paperwork

With the exponential growth in self-employment and new business start-ups in the UK throughout the last half dozen years, Britain has gained a place within the top five of the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Index (GEI). However, a new survey by online freelance marketplace, PeoplePerHour, has revealed that although the spirit of entrepreneurship is very much alive in Britain, it is largely rooted in the north of England.

The survey found that people in northern cities have a much more positive attitude towards entrepreneurship and self-employment than those in the South, with Liverpool (46%), Manchester (45%) and London (42%) looking at self-employment with the most favourable eye.

PeoplePerHour said that perhaps the most telling opinions are not those relating to ourselves, but those pertaining to our children. The survey also revealed that even in areas where entrepreneurship was viewed favourably, only 11% of parents said that they would actively encourage their children to take that path, with 7% saying that they would actively discourage it.

The reasons behind that were the huge lifestyle implications that come with self-employment and entrepreneurship, including unreliable cash flow, lack of pension and having full responsibility for income.

However, those headaches were viewed as being off-set by freedom and flexibility, for those who exhibited an aptitude. Interestingly, respondents recognised the same qualities required for making a success of entrepreneurship. When asked what the most important factor in entrepreneurial success respondents answered:

  • Self-belief (32%)
  • Money or funding (31%)
  • Passion (19%)
  • Good Connections (10%)
Just 8% of respondents thought education was the most important factor, a belief perhaps borne out by successful celebrities known for their business acumen and relatively minor educational achievements, such as Pete Waterman and Lord Sugar.

PeoplePerHour founder & CEO Xenios Thrasyvoulou, said: "There’s no denying that self-employment and entrepreneurship in the UK has reached new heights in the last few years, but it’s interesting to see that the wider population don’t necessarily view it as a stable career choice.

"Our research has shown that the vast majority of people who have started working for themselves would find it inconceivable to return to the PAYE system, but it’s clear that taking that step is still something that is viewed as engendering risk. Not everyone could happily embrace that risk."