While 73% of UK graduates opens in new window report that going to university helped them secure the jobs they wanted in under a year, this might not be the case for the more entrepreneurial graduates.
Many graduates struggle to find satisfying work in their chosen industry, with some employers offering uncompetitive salaries or favouring those with years of experience.
For some graduates, the solution may be to start their own business opens in new window.
It can be a challenging but rewarding experience, providing you with the opportunity to make a career in your chosen field.
Ten reasons to start your own business after university
Here are ten reasons you might consider starting your own business after graduation.
1. It’s a route to employment
In 2022, the graduate employment rate in the UK was 87.3% opens in new window, meaning thousands of people could not secure a job after earning their degree.
Even those in employment can struggle, with over a third of graduates ending up in roles they’re overqualified for opens in new window.
Starting your own business could be one way to challenge yourself, avoid low job satisfaction, and better apply your skillset opens in new window.
Being self-employed could mean you may make less money initially, but your earning potential is uncapped, and you have the chance to try your hand at lots of different roles – from marketing to HR.
2. You have a great business idea
If you have a great idea for a business opens in new window, it can be hugely rewarding to make it a reality.
Whether you want to earn money through your skillset, or you’ve identified a gap in the market opens in new window, there are plenty of opportunities out there.
Taking a chance and testing your idea opens in new window could be the start of your satisfying and rewarding start-up journey.
3. There are flexible working options
More than 70% of UK organisations have embraced flexible work opens in new window, while some many people still work a traditional 9-5 working day, increased flexibility is becoming the norm in the workplace.
Starting a business can support a flexible work-life balance.
As your own boss, you can choose the hours you work, and although creating your start-up can result in long days, you may be able to build your schedule around your priorities.
4. It’s a side hustle
Starting your own business after university can be something you pursue alongside a more traditional career.
Some graduates can work part-time to cover their main living expenses and use their non-working time to focus on launching their businesses.
This can allow recent university leavers to gain valuable workplace know-how, make contacts, and work on their business ideas at the same time while still earning.
5. It’s actually your dream job
The traditional career path may be a thing of the past, and graduates may find themselves in roles that don’t entirely match their aspirations or interests.
In order to gain that ‘dream job’ that combines satisfactory work with a decent salary, you might have to create your own opportunities.
By creating your own start-up, you can shape your business around your ideals, choose the right sector and specialities for you, and build the workplace and career tailored to your particular interests.
6. It’s engaging
Starting a business can be risky, but it can also be engaging as you deal constantly with new challenges and opportunities.
That means it could be the perfect opportunity for graduates who don’t want the predictability of an established job with set tasks that are often repetitive.
Your workdays may often be unpredictable, and each day could be vastly different as you’re responsible for countless tasks.
As a graduate, that might be a tempting proposition.
7. There’s the potential for high salary
The average salary for UK graduates has stagnated in the past few years, currently sitting at under £26,000 per year. opens in new window
There may be little room for improvement beyond that, too, with UK-based graduates aged between 16–64 earning £38,500 on average last year opens in new window.
This is only slightly higher than the median wage across the country, so unless you specialise in a particularly in-demand field, you might have to branch out on your own to take your income to the next level.
If you are planning to start your own business, it could be worth conducting in-depth market research opens in new window to see whether your idea can fill a gap in the market and the potential income you could earn.
8. You’ll avoid job competition
Another challenge for graduates looking to enter their chosen industry is the highly competitive job market opens in new window.
There are often significant numbers of other people who are equally qualified applying for the same position – and if you don’t already have real-world experience, you could be at a disadvantage.
One way to avoid this problem is by starting your own business – you’ll be employee number one from the start.
9. It might suit your personality
Some people are naturally suited to leading and managing opens in new window.
This can make entry-level work stressful and limiting opens in new window, as graduates may be given little room for independent work and creative decision-making.
If you’re the type of person who prefers to work in their own way, you might consider creating your own business.
You’ll have the power to make your own decisions and work in the way that suits you best.
10. You can always try again
As someone starting out in their working life, there’s greater scope to try, fail, and try again.
If your business idea doesn’t work out, this could provide valuable learning for future ventures and prospective employers.
If you try and it’s not for you, the valuable skills, experience, and lessons from starting your own business may interest employers and give you a leg up if you decide to pursue a career instead.
Things to consider before starting your business
Before beginning your start-up journey, you should consider a few things to give yourself the best chance of success.
Your biggest challenge may be financing opens in new window, and it’s the number one reason why many UK start-ups fail opens in new window within the first three years.
Read our guide on the support and funding available to young entrepreneurs opens in new window.
It includes advice on how to secure a government-backed personal loan of up to £25,000 that can help start-up businesses get their idea off the ground.
Find out now if you’re eligible for a Start Up Loan. opens in new window
Discover our essential tips for starting your own business by reading our handy guide opens in new window.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.