Thu | Dec 14, 2017

Most J'cans prefer employment to entrepreneurship- GEM survey

Published:Friday | September 15, 2017 | 12:00 AMAvia Collinder

The newly released Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report on Jamaica states that while the possibility of operating a business is perceived as being positive and of high status, Jamaicans still feel more comfortable having a full-time or part-time job, compared to self-employment.

The report, released on Thursday in Kingston, reveals that women have edged out males in starting new businesses in the island.

Slightly more females than males, 50.6 per cent to 49.4 per cent, are involved in entrepreneurship, a switch from the 2013 GEM survey results for Jamaica. It tracks with the findings of the GEM global report that females in the Caribbean are more likely to start businesses out of necessity than males.

More Jamaicans are employed than self-employed.

"A significant proportion is also actively seeking employment," said the GEM researchers. "While the possibility of operating a business is perceived as being positive and of high status, Jamaicans still feel more comfortable having a full-time or part-time job compared to being self employed."

Still, as shown in prior reports, the majority of Jamaicans hold entrepreneurs in high regard.

GEM reported that this is shown in the 85 per cent of Jamaicans in the age group 18 to 64 agreeing that most people consider starting a business a good career choice. Matched against 62 countries in the region, Jamaica ranked second-highest, Guatemala being first.

GEM also observed that Jamaicans are typically open to the idea of starting new businesses, and Jamaica is considered to be an opportunity-driven economy.

The majority of Jamaicans also believe that they have the required skill and abilities to start a business. However, the report states, "while Jamaica scores high in categories of perceived opportunities, required skills and abilities and lack of fear of failure, the score for entrepreneurial intentions, which speaks to the individuals who intend to start a business over the next three years, is significantly lower with only 38 per cent of the adult population stating that they intend to".

This ranked Jamaica at the top for the Caribbean and Latin America , and 11th globally.

GEM is described as the largest study of entrepreneurship in the world with data from 100 countries.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com