Businesses Are Failing To Capitalise On Entrepreneurial Talents Of Their Workforce, Reveals EY Research

Posted: 23rd January 2015 10:25

Millennials are one the most ‘entrepreneurial’ generations to join the workforce, reveals new research from EY, with 68% of 25-34 year olds aspiring to run their own business.

Based on a survey conducted by Censuswide of 1,000 business professionals , the research explored how entrepreneurial skills can be fostered in large companies. It revealed that many large businesses are failing to harness the entrepreneurial talents of their employees, with only half (52%) of millennials surveyed  feeling that their skills and attributes are fully utilised by their current organisation.

Steve Wilkinson, UK & Ireland Managing Partner, Markets at EY, commented:  “An entrepreneurial mind-set is often associated with small start-up businesses. Whereas in reality, all organisations, regardless of size and scale, need people who can innovate, create and challenge the status quo. That’s why the best businesses focus on building diverse teams to ensure they are drawing on widest spectrum to views.”

A Missed Opportunity
According to the survey, 82% of the respondents have previously had or currently have ideas that could create new opportunities or revenue for their organisation. However, many organisations have been slow to capitalise on these entrepreneurial skills; only half of the respondents (54%) said they have been able to implement their ideas in their workplace.

Rajeeb Dey, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of and co-founder of Startup Britain, partnered with EY to look at the role of entrepreneurship within large organisations. He comments: “Businesses are failing both to realise significant potential growth and failing to retain their entrepreneurial talent. We operate in a knowledge economy and in a competitive economic landscape it is essential for businesses to continue to innovate and stay ahead of their competition. In order to do this they need to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit and empower and support their employees to drive growth.” 

As a result, the survey highlighted that many of today’s workforce recognise the limitations of their current employers. Only half (48%) of professionals feel they can achieve their ambitions within their current employer and a mere third of respondents say their workplace has an entrepreneurial and innovative culture. Many respondents state that they believe there is a lack of opportunities and challenges within their organisations, with 64% citing this as the reason they cannot achieve their career goals with their current employer.

Regional Disparities
However, it seems that some organisations have started to recognise the value of an entrepreneurial workforce. According to the research, businesses based in London appear to be embracing an entrepreneurial culture faster than other UK regions.

50% of respondents working for organisations based in London felt their company had an entrepreneurial culture, as opposed to 29% nationally. People working in London also recognise the significance of strong leadership, with 48% believing it is the most important skill in today’s workplace, whilst the rest of the country valued organisation as the most important skill.

Concluding, Steve Wilkinson said: “We’ve learnt from EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards programme that entrepreneurs are generally made not born, and many have often spent time in a corporate setting before setting out on their own. However they also see opportunity where others see disruption; are tenacious and visionary; and have the ability to work in and motivate a team. These are skills that would be highly regarded in any organisation and are skills we actively recruit for. The challenge for UK PLC is to ensure that there are the opportunities available to enable these individuals to reach their full potential.”

Source: Ernst & Young, Jan 2014