As traditional jobs wane and the marketplace changes, teens are looking at new ways to assure their financial futures. Teens are major consumers of mobile content and products from companies such as Apple and they admire entrepreneurs and recognize that one way to be successful in the current job environment is to start your own business. Interestingly, despite the fact teens say they’d like to start their own businesses; few have any direct work experience in the world of business or entrepreneurship.
According to the just released 2012 Gallup-HOPE Index Report, based on results from a nationally representative poll of students in grades 5 through 12, about 4 in 10 students (43%) say they plan to start their own business. Similarly, 4 in 10 students (42%) say they will invent something that changes the world. Girls (46%) were slightly more likely to agree they plan to start their own business than boys (40%). Boys (45%) were slightly more likely than girls (40%) to say they will invent something that changes the world.
Almost three fifths of the students (59%) report that their school offers classes in entrepreneurship and about one third (32%) say their parents or guardians have started a business, which gives them a birds-eye view to see both the joys and tribulations of being an independent businessperson. Nonetheless, very few students have actual real life experience in the business world. Overall, just 22% of the students worked an hour or more at a paying job in the previous week and only 7% said they were interning.
It is important for educators and businesspeople to begin to work together to close the gap between the teens’ aspirations and the lack of educational opportunities and real life work experience. Investing in young talent and offering real opportunities for learning about business through participation while in still in high school, will motivate teens to bring their hopes and dreams closer to reality.