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Graduates in self-employment and microbusinesses

September 2019

This report by Charlie Ball, Prospects' head of higher education intelligence, presents data about self-employed and entrepreneurial graduates - including who they are, what they do and where they do it

Key findings

  • The report distinguishes between three groups of entrepreneurial graduates: those who are self-employed and work alone, those who are self-employed but work with others ('proprietors and freelancers'), and those who work in microbusinesses (fewer than 10 employees).
  • 9,210 graduates identify themselves as self-employed. For both self-employed and proprietors and freelancers, most are first-degree graduates (66.1%), though Masters graduates also make up a significant proportion (19.7%). A higher proportion of graduates working for microbusinesses are first-degree graduates, with the proportion of Masters students falling to 11.1%.
  • Despite there being a female majority among all graduates, self-employed and entrepreneurial graduates tend to be male (55%). Trends regarding entrepreneurial graduates' ethnicities vary between the three groups listed above, whereas those regarding age are more consistent - entrepreneurial graduates tend to be older than the average graduate.
  • Self-employed graduates tend to be domiciled in the south of England - particularly London. London is also where a large chunk of self-employed graduates end up working. Microbusinesses have slightly different trends, more closely mimicking the general population of graduates in terms of original domicile, and are most likely to be located in Westminster, Kent, Herts and Birmingham.
  • The three groups differ by industries and occupations graduates enter. Nearly 50% of the self-employed work in construction, engineering or the arts. 'Proprietors and freelancers' evidenced a wider spread of industries, and had a particular focus in business and finance. Many graduates in microbusinesses are in non-graduate level jobs with small retailers. Aside from these, small professional and technical businesses such as architects and law firms are the most common destinations.

Download the full report

Graduates in self-employment and microbusinesses

  • File type
    PDF
  • Number of pages in document
    12  pages
  • File size
    667kB

Download the full report

Download PDF file Graduates in self-employment and microbusinesses

About the report

Charlie Ball is head of higher education intelligence at Graduate Prospects. In this report he compiles data from HESA's Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) dataset to explore the trends surrounding self-employment and entrepreneurial graduates.

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