2016 Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report highlights changing work environment

The seventh annual Amway Global Entrepreneurship Report (AGER) measures the public pulse of self-employment around the world. The 2016 study finds 77 percent of respondents have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship. This consistently high interest in self-employment may explain the increasing importance of global trends like the gig economy—also known as the sharing economy, on-demand economy, peer-to-peer economy, freelance nation, etc. By any name, the trend of individuals seeking to work independent from an employer with greater flexibility is on the rise. The AGER results support this trend, with 39 percent of respondents worldwide seeing self-employment more likely in five years than today and 56 percent feeling comfortable searching for and acquiring customers—a key element of self-employment. These results seem to be indicators of a changing world of work.

While the future of work appears to be shifting more toward entrepreneurship than ever before as a whole, there are noticeable trends across gender and education levels. Both men and women have a positive attitude toward entrepreneurship, yet men are more willing to actually start a business and more comfortable with acquiring customers. University graduates also score higher on these questions than non-graduates and are more positive toward entrepreneurship than those without a university degree.

“Today’s work environment is different from years ago with more people wanting to work independently and find greater fulfillment in life—especially today’s millennial generation,” said Doug DeVos, Amway president and chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. “AGER tells us these trends are growing but are affected by gender and education levels. We think it’s important to have dialog about how to close these gaps and create more entrepreneurial equality and accessibility around the world, especially considering that entrepreneurship is known to drive economies and create jobs.”

Respondents with a university degree (84 percent) are much more positive toward entrepreneurship than those without a degree (74 percent). Degreed respondents (46 percent) also believe it is more likely to be self-employed in the next five years than those without a degree (37 percent). University graduates (60 percent) are more comfortable than nongraduates (55 percent) with acquiring customers. And more respondents with a university degree (49 percent) can imagine starting a business compared to 41 percent without a degree. Surprising findings, given that those who pursue higher education are often perceived as more likely to take a conventional career path.

With respect to gender, 43 percent of respondents could imagine starting a business but men (48 percent) are considerably more willing to do so than women (38 percent). Only 52 percent of women would be comfortable acquiring customers compared to 60 percent of men.

The AGER also once again features the Amway Entrepreneurial Spirit Index (AESI). Introduced in 2015, the AESI measures three dimensions that influence a person’s intention to start a business: desirability, feasibility and stability against social pressure. The average for all countries was 50:

  • 56 percent of the average expressed the desire to become an entrepreneur;
  • 46 percent felt prepared for entrepreneurship;
  • 49 percent would not allow their social networks to dissuade them.

In general, men had higher AESI scores (55 percent) in all dimensions compared to women (47 percent). Education also impacts the overall AESI score as those with a university degree had higher scores (56 percent) compared to those without a university degree (49 percent).