Entrepreneurs are leading global job creation, according to an EY report. Forty-seven percent expect to increase their total global workforce this year.
This contrasts with the hiring plans of senior executives at large corporates, with 29% expecting to create jobs in the next year.
The survey shows entrepreneurs have had a dramatic uptick in positive sentiment toward the economy, with 71% reporting confidence in the economic direction of their domestic market and 66% confident in the economic direction of the global economy (up from 46% in the 2014 survey).
There is, however, clear geographical variation, with China (95%), India (90%) and Middle East/North Africa (MENA) (90%) showing the highest confidence in the global economy, and France (52%), Australia (51%) and Japan (49%) showing the lowest – a reflection of overall economic conditions in those geographies.
Despite rising confidence, entrepreneurs are mindful of the risks, citing negative market conditions as the top perceived business threat (31%), suggesting that global instability is still on the radar of the world’s businesses. In the UK (29%) and Germany (35%), red tape is cited as the number one perceived threat, while in the U.S. a skills shortage is singled out as the top business threat (27%).
Entrepreneurs are increasingly looking abroad to expand their workforces, with 47% expecting to do so in the next year. Emerging markets lead the way, with global hires most likely in MENA (74%), China (68%) and India (63%). Young entrepreneurs are more likely to hire abroad than older ones, with 69% of those under 35 expecting to hire globally in the next year. This despite a lack of access to funding (43%) and negative economic factors (43%) that were reported as key barriers by our youth respondents.
The sectors most likely to hire internationally in the next year are cleantech (75%), followed closely by biotech/pharma (74%), with professional services (26%) and transportation, travel and tourism (15%) the least likely.
The survey finds that entrepreneurs are driven by more than financial gain. Thirty-eight percent cite leaving a positive legacy behind as the “top driver for starting a business outside of goals relating to turnover and profitability.” Other key motivations include making a positive contribution to the wider community (36%) and inspiring others to follow their aspirations (32%).