Survey: Most Executives Would Not Opt for Self-Employment, but Many Intrigued by the Prospect

MENLO PARK, CA, Sept., 18, 2007 -- Most executives would decline the opportunity to be their own boss, according to a new survey.  Sixty-five percent of respondents said they feel the average executive would not choose to be self-employed if he or she had the necessary startup capital.  Thirty-two percent disagreed -- down from the 38 percent in a similar survey 10 years earlier who felt senior managers would, indeed, take the plunge.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis.  The national poll includes interviews with 150 senior executives -- including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments -- with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.

Senior executives were asked, “If the average executive could be self-employed and had the necessary startup capital, do you feel he or she would make the move?”  Their responses:







Don't know/no answer  





“Some executives may see more opportunity -- and security -- in their corporate roles than in venturing out on their own,” said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.  “The failure of a sizable number of startups earlier in the decade left many senior managers wary of the risks associated with self-employment.”

However, McDonald pointed out that for professionals with an independent spirit, “hanging out a shingle” has its benefits.  “The challenge and flexibility of entrepreneurship can outweigh the uncertainty, but it takes discipline and a commitment to being both a visionary and a pragmatist.”  He noted that consulting can be a good alternative for those who seek the advantages of self-employment without the administrative burden of owning a small business.

Robert Half Management Resources has more than 140 offices throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and offers online job search services at www.roberthalfmr.com.


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