Wendy Andrews

Millennials, Gen Y are hard at it

DON'T write-off Millennials and Gen Ys just yet, because new research released by NRMA Business Insurance could shift the stereotype that younger Australians aren't prepared to put in the hard yards.

The annual NRMA Insurance Business Owner Sentiment Study (BOSS) surveyed 1500 small business owners and found those aged 18-34 are working longer hours and taking less leave than any other age demographic.

Millennial and 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 a week, compared to 24% of small business owners aged 55-plus.

More than two thirds (70%) are taking less than two weeks holiday each year compared to 49% of small business owners aged 55-plus.

About 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 with those ambitions.

Nearly one in three (29%) Gen Y and Millennial business owners say they started their business to follow their passion, compared to less than a quarter (23%) of those aged 35-plus.

"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 is these qualities, coupled with Gen Ys and Millennials being the most ambitious and tech-savvy generations, which makes younger people well suited to running their own business.”

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 cashflow (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%) and staying ahead of the competition.

Younger small business owners are also the most likely to want help with a range of functions including finance, marketing and their legal responsibilities.

Despite the stress and personal toll that comes with running a small business, 70% of young small business owners are confident their business will have a better 12 months ahead and 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,” Ms Whiting said

"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.”

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