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Two thirds of students want to be self-employed after graduation

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Almost two-thirds of university students are planning to go self-employed after finishing their degrees in a bid to sidestep the unpredictable nature of the UK job market, new research reveals.

Despite spending upwards of £15,000 on tuition fees, and three years in education, nearly two-in-three are considering launching their own business after graduating.

The majority of current students had specific job or career path in mind when they began their studies.

But the increasingly competitive employment market – where up to 160 graduates are chasing every position - means 70% are now re-thinking their future.

Only 2% believe they have the sufficient interview skills to see-off other applicants.

The overwhelming majority are either “angry” or “deflated” about the prospect of wasting time and money on a university education that will not guarantee a job.

A total of 57% of existing undergraduates are now either planning or considering a self-employed career to avoid the pitfalls of climbing the tough corporate ladder, a poll has found.

Andy Harrington (pictured), one of the country’s leading public speaking and entrepreneurialism experts, says the findings further cement the UK’s reputation as the ‘capital’ of Europe’s self-employment boom.

The self-made millionaire - who has shared the stage with the likes of Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, and Donald Trump - commissioned the survey of nearly 1,000 students to mark the publication of his bestselling new guidebook, Passion Into Profit: How To Make Big Money From Who You Are And What You Know.

He said: “The results of this research clearly suggest that current students are being forced to reconsider their options after leaving higher education.

“The highly-competitive nature of the world’s job market is carving a new generation of entrepreneurs and a new era of entrepreneurialism where young people can and will build a successful career for themselves.

“Such a leap would have been difficult in the past, but we are now living in an entrepreneurial and information age where individuals and smallbusinesses can compete on a level playing field with larger firms simply by harnessing the web to become go-to experts.”

The survey of 905 full and part-time students was conducted last month on behalf of AndyHarrington.com.

Some 55% of those questioned said they had a specific job in mind after completing their studies.

But 28% said the potential of being unable to gain employment in their chosen field had forced them to consider an “entirely new career where jobs are easier to come by”.

A further 42% said they would consider working abroad, taking a gap year, or becoming a volunteer.

More than half (55%) admitted they felt “angry” at the state of the employment market, because of the cost of higher education and the fear it could be a waste of money.

And 43% said they felt “deflated” by the knowledge that university did not guarantee them a job.

Interestingly, 68% of respondents described themselves as “entrepreneurial”.

Only 34% discounted the idea of launching their own business, with the remainder being drawn by flexible working hours and “being my own boss”.

The potential of higher earnings and “not being a wage slave” with a better work-life balance were also strong attractions to a self-employed career.

84% reckoned they could become “go-to experts” – an increasingly popular career that sees people part with specialist advice or counsel for a fee.

Of these, most believed they already possessed the necessary skills to market their status using websites, social media, and podcasts as platforms.

“The fact that so many students have the confidence to consider a self-employed career, or as a go-to expert, is phenomenally exciting for Britain and for Britain’s economy,” said Harrington, who left a “dead end” career in the sales industry in his late 20s to set up his own public speaking consultancy.

His business is now global in scale and counts CEOs and Hollywood stars among its client-base.

He added: “The internet and social media marketing enable people to start out on their own and to use the innate knowledge and skills they have garnered through work or through education to become a person of influence – and wealth - who can benefit others on a truly national and international scale.”

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