The Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER) engages leaders in politics, economics, business and academia in a worldwide conversation. This year’s focus? The changing work environment, including continued positive attitude toward entrepreneurship and inequalities between genders and education levels.
Now in its seventh year, AGER takes the public pulse of the state of entrepreneurship around the world. Acknowledging entrepreneurial changes in the workplace, the 2016 study finds 84 percent of U.S. respondents have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship compared to the global average of 77 percent.
Trending Now: The Gig Economy
This consistently high interest in self-employment may explain increasing importance of trends like the gig economy here and abroad — also known as the sharing economy, on-demand economy, peer-to-peer economy, freelance nation, etc. By any name, the trend of individuals seeking independence from an employer through income opportunities offering greater flexibility is on the rise.
The 2016 AGER results support this trend, with 40 percent of U.S. respondents seeing self-employment more likely in five years than today. Additionally, 66 percent of U.S. respondents feel comfortable searching for and acquiring customers – a critical element of self-employment.
“Today’s work environment is different from years ago with more people wanting to work independently and find greater fulfillment in life – especially today’s millennial generation,” said Doug DeVos, Amway president and chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. “AGER tells us these trends are growing but are affected by gender and education levels. We think it’s important to have dialogue about how to close these gaps and create more entrepreneurial equality and accessibility around the world, especially considering that entrepreneurship is known to drive economies and create jobs.”
Published by Amway, in partnership with Technische Universität München (TUM) and GfK, a leading international market research company, the survey launched in 2010 as the Amway European Entrepreneurship Report, then expanded worldwide in 2013. This year’s report includes 45 markets, with in-person and telephone interviews conducted with more than 50,000 men and women aged 14-99.
2016 U.S. Key Findings
While the future of work appears to be shifting more toward entrepreneurship than ever before, there are noticeable trends across age, education levels and gender.
Millennials are Most Optimistic about Business Ownership.
Younger generations are more enthused that entrepreneurship in America is on the rise compared to older generations. U.S. respondents under the age of 35 years show a significantly higher desire to starting their own business (70 percent) compared to those over the age of 50 (52 percent). Interestingly, confidence in one’s own capabilities of starting a business peaks (69 percent) for respondents between the ages of 35 and 49 years. Respondents under 35 years are also more convinced that self-employment will be more prevalent in the future (45 percent), compared to those who are 35 to 49 years and those over the age of 50.
Education Matters – College Graduates are More Optimistic Toward Entrepreneurship.
Education appears to have an influence on entrepreneurial potential among U.S. respondents. University graduates (92 percent) are more positive toward entrepreneurship than those without a degree (82 percent). Degreed respondents (42 percent) also believe they are more likely to be self-employed in the next five years than those without a degree (39 percent). Similarly, both groups identically ranked their top reasons for starting a business (self-fulfillment, independence and second income prospects). Furthermore, education levels had no influence on confidence in acquiring customers as university graduates and non-graduates shared similar opinions (66 percent).
Gender Gap Narrows Despite Men Being More Likely to Start a Business.
Although 51 percent of respondents in the U.S. could imagine starting a business (higher than the global average of 43 percent), males exhibit a greater propensity for enthusiasm toward entrepreneurship (87 percent) compared to females (81 percent). With respect to gender, 60 percent of males are more likely to start a business compared to 43 percent of females. However, across both genders, the overall desire to start a business has increased compared to 2015. Only 60 percent of female respondents are comfortable searching and acquiring customers compared to 72 percent of males.
Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index
The AGER also once again features the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index (AESI). Introduced in 2015, the AESI builds on the theory of planned behavior and measures three dimensions that influence a person’s intention to start a business: desirability, feasibility and stability against social pressure. This year, the U.S. AESI score was 56, slightly higher than last year’s score of 53 and this year’s global score of 50. Additionally:
- 61 percent of U.S. respondents have the desire to become an entrepreneur
- 61 percent felt prepared for entrepreneurship
- 47 percent would not lose hope of their dreams of starting a business, if family and friends stood in their way.
In general, men had higher AESI scores (64 percent) compared to women (50 percent), however the gap continues to shrink. Education seems to have little influence on the overall AESI score as those with a university degree had a score of 58, compared to those without a university degree (56 percent).