Have you ever been in that awkward situation where you’re freelancing at a client’s office and, upon announcing your self-employed status, the full-time employees sigh wistfully and look at you longingly?

Well, according to a new study conducted by SmallBusiness.co.uk, that awkward feeling is becoming more and more common. Their research has found that a full 52% of full-time employees have expressed an interest in setting up their own company. The survey took in the views of 2,000 individuals, and has revealed that women are proving more entrepreneurial than their male counterparts – the percentage interested in going it alone rises to 57% amongst the fairer sex.

The study also looked at how entrepreneurial spirit changes with age, and discovered another interesting gender disparity. Women tend to get the startup bug at a younger age, with 42% of the wannabe female entrepreneurs under the age of 34 (compared to 23% of men). Meanwhile, men tend to get fidgety later in life – 48% of the male respondents interesting in setting up on their own were over 45 (this figure among women was much lower at 34%).

Work-life balance

A better work-life balance was the primary reason for wanting to start one’s own business  at 33%, followed by wanting to “be my own boss” with 25%.

Evidently the UK’s fledgling entrepreneurs think they have wares the public would be interested in. Despite a continuing slump, the retails sector proved the most popular market in which to start up (21%), followed by food and hospitality (15%).

The British Retail Consortium’s Richard Dodd commented on the findings, noting that the continuing high unemployment rates are a contributing factor in so many people wanting to form their own company.

“Despite the fact that there can be significant costs involved, the growth of online retailing in particular makes it easier and cheaper to enter the market than it has been historically.”

Photo by Lars Plougmann