Only 33 per cent of those surveyed, down from 46 per cent in 2009, expressed a preference for self-employment, with nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of respondents saying they would prefer to be an employee. This compares to an EU average of 37 per cent favouring self-employment, down from 45 per cent in 2009, reflecting the current economic situation with its less promising business prospects.
Recognising the key role education and training has in nurturing future generations of entrepreneurs, and in response to suggestions from companies, the Commission announced it will produce guidelines for the education sector in co-operation with the OECD.
Research shows that between 15% and 20% of students who participate in a mini-company programme in secondary school will later start their own company, a figure that is about three to five times of that of the general population and higher education in entrepreneurship can boost high-tech and high growth companies.
Only 15 per cent of those polled in the UK said they had taken part in any course or activity about entrepreneurship, compared to an EC average of 23 per cent.
The action plan includes specific measures to help budding entrepreneurs among Europe's young people, women, the unemployed and senior citizens, as well as a series of initiatives to tackle common obstacles to entrepreneurship. These include: facilitating start-ups and new businesses, making transfers of business ownership more successful, improve access to finance and give honest business people a second chance after bankruptcy.