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Survey: Interest in entrepreneurship high among young people

The new Youth Barometer suggests that young people are interested in more than a pay cheque.

Lilly Nysten works as an upholsterer in Helsinki. Image: Eleni Paspatis / Yle

The Finnish Youth Research Society's (FYRS) new Youth Barometer 2019 indicates that teenage and young adult respondents are taking more of an interest in entrepreneurship than in previous years.

Boys and under-20s have particularly taken an interest in starting a business.

Respondents aged 15-29 "are committed to work and they find it meaningful", according to the report. When asked what values drove the respondents into their line of work or study, responses such as "personal interest" (75 percent totally agree) and "the chance to develop my skills" (58 percent agree completely) won out over a large pay cheque (13 percent totally agree) or starting a family (14 percent totally agree).

More than three-quarters of respondents said they think entrepreneurship will become more common in the future.

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Lotta Haikkola is chief researcher at the Finnish Youth Research Society and editor-in-chief of Nuorisotutkimus (The Finnish Journal of Youth Research). Image: Eleni Paspatis / Yle

"Being an entrepreneur can make it possible to aspire to one's goals and values," said FYRS chief researcher Lotta Haikkola.

Nearly nine out of 10 said they consider the work they do to be meaningful, and nearly as many said they are excited by their work.

Gender gaps

There was also a wide gender disparity in the range of responses.

"Young women express more concern in many ways about work and working life than young men, and are also more worried than young men about coping," according to the Barometer.

While 55 percent of female respondents agreed to some extent that occupations being gendered as male or female jobs is a problem, only 28 percent of boys agreed.

The study found that young men are more likely than women to extend their working day in order to finish their tasks, but that men are far less likely to consider their work and personal life to be in a sustainable balance.

More women than men said they were seriously affected by workplace fatigue, and that they bring their work stress home with them.

"It's a pretty startling result," said Haikkola. "The gaps may not be alarmingly wide, but they are systematic between men and women."

Female respondents were found to be more concerned for their working life stamina than their male counterparts, but the gap has widened since then.

"The sense of stress may come from the concrete work young women are most often doing. The industries they work in often have temporary contracts and irregular hours," the report notes.