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Generation ambition

Generation ambition

Don’t write-off Millennials or Gen Ys as they are also known, as entitled and work shy.

New research released today by NRMA Business Insurance could shift the stereotype that younger Australians aren’t prepared to put in the hard yards. 

Long hours and less leave

The NRMA Insurance Business Owner Sentiment Study (BOSS), surveyed 1,500 small business owners and found those aged 18-34 are working longer hours and taking less leave than any other age demographic.

Millennial/Gen Y business owners were also the most ambitious and driven demographic, and were more likely to say they started a business to follow their passion.

The research found:

  • More than a quarter (27%) of small business owners aged 18-34 are working more than 50 hours each week, compared to 24% of small business owners aged 55 and over.
  • More than two thirds (70%) are taking less than two weeks’ holiday each year, compared to 49% of small business owners aged 55 and over.
  • 43% said they want to dominate their industry, become a household name, or earn as much money as possible, compared to just a fifth (21%) of older small business owners who share the same ambitions.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 (29%) Gen Y/Millennial business owners say they started their business to follow their passion, compared to less than a quarter (23%) of those aged 35 and over.

Freedom and creativity 

“We know Millennials are like no generation before them, seeking job environments that offer flexibility, autonomy and a sense of purpose, as well as the creative freedom to grow and move around,” said Amanda Whiting, Executive General Manager of Small Business for NRMA Business Insurance.

“While this often wrongly lands Millennials the reputation as fickle or entitled, it's these qualities, coupled with Gen Y/Millennials being the most ambitious and tech-savvy generations, which makes younger people well-suited to running their own business.

It's particularly interesting to see, that while Millennial small business owners might be working longer hours and taking less holiday than their corporate counterparts, the sense of purpose and achievement which comes with being your own boss outweighs the hard yards.”

Love and stress

The study also asked small business owners what they love most, what causes them the most stress and what they find most rewarding about running their own business.

The findings showed:

Gen Y small business owners are the most stressed in the country, about a range of issues including:

  • managing their cash flow (41% compared to a national average of 33%)
  • working long hours (25% compared to a national average of 22%)
  • their financial responsibilities (29% compared to a national average of 23%) 
  • staying ahead of the competition (15% compared to a national average of 11%)
  • attracting new customers (27% compared to a national average of 23%).

Help and support

Younger small business owners are also the most likely to want help with a range of functions including:

  • finance (60% compared to a national average of 45%),  
  • marketing (40% compared to a national average of 36%),
  • and their legal responsibilities (20% compared to a national average of 16%).

Confident and optimistic

Despite the stress and personal toll that comes with running a small business, 70% of young small business owners are confident that their business will have a better 12 months ahead, while 58% of small business owners aged 35 and over share this optimism. 

“No one is an expert at everything and even the most experienced small business owners can feel out of their depth from time to time,” said Whiting.

“Our advice to small business owners both young and old, is to build a network of trusted experts who you can lean-on when you need practical professional advice and support.”

The NRMA Business Insurance (BOSS) Research is an annual survey which aims to uncover the concerns, the motivations and stresses of Australia’s diverse and thriving small business community.

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