Female entrepreneurs outperform male peers in job creation

London, 7 June 2016

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  • Female entrepreneurs predict growth in their workforce of 10.9% in the next year, compared to 8.3% among male entrepreneurs
  • Younger female entrepreneurs predict even higher workforce growth (16%) in the year ahead
  • Women entrepreneurs surveyed are 19% more likely to be running a US$1b+ businesses than men

Female entrepreneurs are outperforming their male peers when it comes to hiring, according to new research released this week to coincide with the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Forum.

According to the EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016, a survey of 2,673 entrepreneurs globally, women are leading in the job creation stakes, anticipating an average growth rate of 10.9% in the next year, compared to 8.3% among male entrepreneurs. Furthermore, 43% of women surveyed said they hired more than expected in 2015, compared to 39% of male entrepreneurs.

The survey shows that job creation levels are even higher among younger women. Female entrepreneurs under the age of 35 expect an average 16% increase in workforce size in the year ahead, while 56% recorded better than expected job creation in the past year. The figures for men in the same age bracket are 13% and 56% respectively.

Billion dollar entrepreneurs

Leaders of billion dollar businesses were a relatively small group in our research – accounting for 148 people or 6% of the survey base – but even within this small sample there were interesting gender differences. Female entrepreneurs were found to be 19% more likely to be running US$1b companies than men. Of the companies surveyed, 5% of male entrepreneurs led US$1b companies, compared to 6.2% of female entrepreneurs.

Uschi Schreiber, EY Global Vice Chair ‒ Markets, said:
“There are signs that women entrepreneurs are fast becoming leading job creators. This is extremely encouraging as entrepreneurship has long been a route to employment and business success for many women despite the enduring gender gap. While some challenges remain for female-led businesses, like often not scaling to the same extent as their male-led counterparts, our research shows some tentative and welcome signs that this is changing. Our research shows that female entrepreneurs are more likely to run billion dollar businesses and outperform men when it comes to hiring and creating jobs.”

Entrepreneurs’ confidence is high

When taking account of the responses of both men and women, the survey shows that despite mixed global economic indicators, entrepreneurs are generally more confident than at this time last year and more than twice as likely to be hiring new staff as large corporates. More than half (59%) of all the entrepreneurs from 12 key markets surveyed expect to increase their total global workforce in the next 12 months. This is a leap of more than one-quarter year-on-year (up from 47% in 2015) and more than double the proportion of large corporations (28%) that are planning to increase their workforce over the next year according to EY’s most recent Capital Confidence Barometer.

Disruptive entrepreneurs (who change some or all of the rules of their sector) and innovative entrepreneurs (who have created a brand new product or service in the past year) are also growing their workforces at a much faster rate than their more conventional competitors. The most disruptive entrepreneurs, the 17% of respondents who say they have changed all or many of the rules in their sector, were 58% more likely to forecast an increase in their overall workforce in the next 12 months compared to their conventional competitors. Innovative entrepreneurs have similar hiring plans. They are 95% more likely to expect to grow their workforce in the next year compared to those who have not created a new product or service.

Schreiber says: “The numbers validate what we have known for some time: the majority of entrepreneurs do well in business by challenging the status quo, asking difficult questions of incumbents and redefining the boundaries of sectors and industries. What is encouraging is that these disruptors, many of whom are women, are blazing a trail of growth in today’s fast-moving and transformative business environment. They are spotting opportunities and relentlessly executing on them, very often blind to existing sector or industry boundaries.

“In our view, the findings could be something of a stark warning to businesses that are not embracing innovation, disruption and also diversity. Incumbent businesses risk being left behind by disruptors who, we know from the survey, are laser-focused on attaining the talent that will allow them to attract customers and drive growth.”


Notes to Editors

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The EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016
The EY Global Job Creation Survey 2016 was conducted online between January and March 2016 with an independent panel of global entrepreneurs in 12 key global markets, including input from 245 of the world’s most dynamic entrepreneurs – EY Entrepreneur Of The Year participants. The results are based on the responses of 2,673 entrepreneurs in Germany, China, India, France, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Canada, the UK, the US, Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA. Opinion Matters, part of the markettiers4dc group of companies in the UK and overseas, conducted the research for EY. The research adheres to strict industry codes of conduct and ICC/ESOMAR global market research guidelines.