42% of business owners now have a relevant undergraduate degree

A study carried out by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance investigated UK business owners and their experience and qualifications during their start up.

The results showed that close to two thirds (61%) of business owners aged over 55 had previous experience in their chosen sector.

However, this is considerably different to the younger generation as less than one in ten (8%) of 18-24-year olds had previous done any work in the market they’ve placed their business.

Business owners in Sheffield were the most experienced with over two thirds (69%) having previously worked in their sector, compared to Plymouth, who were the least qualified with only 26%.

The sector with the most work experience was business consultancy firms with over four in five (81%) having had previous experience before starting up, this was followed by the architects (73%) and engineers with 71%. The retail and catering sector ranked lowest with 16%.

Another route that business owners took was education. Findings suggest that less than half (42%) of UK business owners had an undergraduate degree or higher during their start-up.

More women were entering their venture with a degree as almost half (44%) had at least a level 7 qualification before their start-up, compared to 40% of men.

Business owners aged 45-54 were the most likely to have a university degree with close to half (47%) using this to their benefit during their start up.

The least likely to have a degree before starting up their business were the 18-24-year olds with only a quarter although many of these could still be studying,

London business owners were the most educated with over half (51%) completing a degree, business owners in Norwich are the least educated with only 27% of owners having a degree during their start-up.

Owners in the transport and logistics sector are the least likely to have a university education with under a quarter (24%) having these.

Instead of having an academic qualification, two in five UK owners (40%) chose the route of a professional qualification in their sector.

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Professional qualifications were much more common amongst males, as close to half (47%) of owners had these, compared to less than a third (32%) of female owners.

Again, it is owners aged 18-24 that are the least likely to have a professional qualification with less than one in five (17%) holding one, compared to 45-54-year olds who were the most likely with close to half (41%).

Almost three fifths (58%) of owners in the recruitment sector had a professional qualification, followed by 55% of owners in the transport and logistics sector. The least likely sector was retail with just over one in ten (13%).

Hiring experienced staff was an alternative strategy used by owners to avoid having experience in their working sector, this was used by over a third (36%) of UK employers.

Almost half (44%) of male business owners hired experienced staff to help them during their start-up. This was considerably higher than female business owners at 28 per cent.

18-24-year-old owners were the least likely to hire experienced staff with one in seven (16%), however, the most likely was 25-34-year olds with almost half (42%).

Two thirds (66%) of owners in Belfast hired staff experienced in that sector, ranking them the highest; alternatively, Plymouth owners ranked the lowest with only seven per cent.

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