By Daniel Hunter

Despite tough economic times, the world’s leading entrepreneurs have shown remarkable resilience and continue to be positive about their future recruitment plans.

This is highlighted by Global job creation – an Ernst & Young survey of 200 of former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) winners. The research highlights that 78% of the entrepreneurs said they intend to increase their workforce at home or abroad in 2013.

The survey also found that women entrepreneurs intend to hire more at home than their male counterparts, with 73% planning to increase their workforce in their domestic markets this year, compared to 69% of the men. Both men and women said the most important factor impacting their 2013 hiring plans is growth in their products and services — 78% of the total. Women entrepreneurs also express more confidence in the economic direction of the countries in which they are headquartered — 88% feel positive compared to 71% of the men.

This optimism about the future is reflected in the 49 EOY winners at WEOY. Despite the challenging global economy in the last three years these individuals have collectively doubled their revenues to US$40b and expanded their headcount by 40% to over 200,000.

Maria Pinelli, Global Vice Chair, Strategic Growth Markets at Ernst & Young says: “In the past year, the world’s best entrepreneurs have shown remarkable resilience in the face of sharply variable business conditions throughout the major global markets. While macroeconomic risks such as the Eurozone crisis, a slowdown in emerging markets growth and the US budget impasse have added to investor uncertainty, the world’s leading entrepreneurs are still looking to recruit in significant numbers.”

When entrepreneurs were asked what kind of jobs they were creating (administrative, entry-level with and without university degrees, or experienced), 51% said they created roles for “experienced (non-management) personnel”, while only 14% said they will recruit at “entry level with a degree” and 26% at “entry level with no degree.”

Maria adds: “Entrepreneurs continue to raise the standard of living in the countries where they operate by not only creating jobs but good jobs, that require experience. That’s what we call helping to build a better working world.”

A significant change this year is that entrepreneurs are making sustainable investments in productivity. Although the percentage of entrepreneurs saying they continue to hire to enter new markets remains the most popular response (74% in 2012, 63% in 2013) the number of respondents saying they are recruiting specifically to boost production has increased significantly from 28% in 2012 to 45% this year. Asia-Pacific leads the way adding staff to boost production at 64%, followed by Europe, at 51% and by the US at 29%.

“This ambition of our EOY winners to keep growing their products and services in 2013 is so heartening,” says Maria. “Entrepreneurs have gone beyond entering new market and they are now consolidating their activities. It shows the world — and inspires us all — as to what can happen when you give good ideas, and the space to grow them, a chance.”

When women entrepreneurs were asked what the two most important reasons for hiring outside their home country were, 50% said boosting the production of goods and services (compared to 44% of male entrepreneurs), followed closely by entering new markets (40% compared to 68% to male entrepreneurs) and tapping new resource talent (40% compared to 20% to male entrepreneurs).

Interestingly, “taking advantage of lower labor costs, proximity to their suppliers (nil to 13% for male entrepreneurs) or “new source of finance” (3%) scored low for male entrepreneurs, and did not score at all for female entrepreneurs.

Maria concludes: “A global, inter-connected world provides increased opportunities for entrepreneurs and this means the world’s women as well.”

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