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Canadians flocking to self employment: CIBC study

Tags: Economy
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Canadians have contracted the entrepreneurial bug.

More than half a million Canadians were on their way to starting their own businesses in June, a CIBC study shows.

And more than 80 percent of them were doing so by choice, rather than being "forced" to due to a lack of employment opportunities.

And CIBC expects the trend to continue.

“A look at the overall trends suggests we’ll see a record high increase of start ups,” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC, tells BNN in a phone interview.

The study says the shift to entrepreneurialism is a result of an aging workforce, with baby boomers the fastest-growing segment of self employment. Other factors include technological advances and greater immigration, as the pace of growth of self employment among immigrants is double what it was in the 1980s.

Baby boomers now account for close to 30 percent of new businesses. Tal says older workers are now able to take advantage of new technology that allows them to work from home as well as take advantage of wide business networks and connections more effectively.

Public sector outsourcing, as officials look to repair government balance sheets, will also support the trend to toward self employment.

Sectors that are seeing a boost in entrepreneurship are the fields of science, technology, education and health.

Men are still the driving force in self employment, accounting for 70 percent of total start-ups. However, as Tal points out, among established businesses the percentage of female entrepreneurs rose from to 33 percent from 27 percent.

“Women basically choose more selectively and stay in longer than men who are coming and going, coming and going,” Tal tells BNN.

The education rate among the newly-self employed has doubled since the 1990s, with nearly one-third holding a university degree. Not only are they more educated than in the past, says Tal, “but they’re also more educated than the general population.”

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