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Digital banking 06 Mar 2020

Almost 50% of UK employees want to quit big business and start their own companies

A new survey by BBVA owned SME digital banking specialist Holvi has shown how nearly half of the UK big business workforce would like to set up their own company, but fears around financial management and redtape are stopping them.

Yet fears surrounding whether they could handle the management of the financial administration of their new venture are stopping people from actually doing it, the Holvi survey shows.

The survey, conducted by Holvi and polling specialist YouGov, revealed that almost half (47%) of full-time UK employees would like to start their own business, but a third of them (32%) fear that they wouldn’t be able to manage the financial side of being self-employed.

Reasons to create a startup

Asked why they wanted to set up on their own, the most common responses were for: a better work-life balance (43%), pursuing a passion (37%) and the idea of earning more money (32%).

According to those who have already started their own business and who were quizzed in the poll, these fear being expressed, and the motivations for considering setting out on your own, are absolutely normal.

Nearly half of sole traders interviewed in the poll (47%) claim they pushed through their worries at launch without calling on additional support. Indeed, 41% say they didn’t experience any barriers when starting their business at all.

When asked where they’d seek advice, the full-time employees considering entrepreneurship said their first port of call would be online research (58%). The internet was followed by experts in the field (49%), friends and family (44%), and business experts (37%), while just over a third (35%) said they would consult their bank.

The research also found that:

  • Scotland is home to the most entrepreneurially-minded workers, with 58% considering starting their own venture. Employees in the North of England are the least likely to make the jump, with only 41% contemplating going it alone.
  • Males (52%) are more likely to consider leaving their job to found a business than females (39%).
  • Young people (18-24) in full-time work are most likely to leave their role to pursue a passion (48%), rather than for better work-life balance (43%) or more money (33%).
  • Those working in media and marketing (68%) were most likely to take the leap into self-employment, followed by employees in fitness and wellbeing (65%) and trade (63%). Social media influencers were least likely to fly solo (29%).

Males (52%) are more likely to consider leaving their job to found a business than females (39%)

Holvi’s CEO, Antti-Jussi Suominen, says: “There is a large number of people in the UK working full time for their employers who are considering taking the leap into self-employment. However, it’s clear that a fear of financial processes is holding them back. When you consider that sole traders are also ignoring their banks when it comes to seeking advice, it’s obvious that there’s something wrong here.”

Suominen continues: “Banks and other financial businesses need to make it easier for people to start their own businesses. It’s not about simply setting up a bank account, but also supporting them with the day to day aspects of business finance, including when their tax deadline is, what can be claimed on expenses, how to grow sustainably, and more. The status quo clearly isn’t working.

He added: “Given the impact this section of the workforce have on the economy - and particularly in creating jobs - it is hugely important as much as possible is done to encourage venture creation.”

The survey, commissioned by Holvi and run by YouGov, asked more than 500 full-time employees, and 500 sole traders, freelancers and small business owners about their thoughts.

Finnish digital bank Holvi, which specialises in providing an integrated banking solution for SMEs, sole traders and gig economy workers, offers its customers a full suite of banking tools that includes elements like book-keeping, expense management and invoice production.

It was acquired by BBVA in 2016 is authorised to operate across the European Economic Area (EEA) under the Payment Services Directive by the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA).

Headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, Holvi expanded its European presence to Great Britain in January this year, sitting alongside its other core markets of Germany and Finland and further operating countries like Ireland, Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands.