By Kara Brandeisky
May 31, 2014

Faced with a lagging labor market and mounting student loan debt, millennials seem either to have found reason to be optimistic about the new economy—or to have lost faith in it completely. According to a new survey from Buzz Marketing Group and the Young Entrepreneur Council, 81% think that they’ll either own a business or be self-employed at some point in their careers.

During tough times in particular, millennials say, they would rather work for themselves. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said if they became unemployed, they would likely start a business or become freelancers versus 23% who said they would continue looking for a job working for someone else.

Gen Y may be already laying the groundwork for future entrepreneurship: 46% of all respondents say they’ve done freelance work in their fields.

YEC founder Scott Gerber says the results show that millennials want a different kind of career than the ones their parents had. “You’re talking about a generation that has seen what happened with their parents and Enron, and what happened in 2009 and 2010—the traditional workforce eroding before our eyes,” Gerber said. “Millennials have new ways of thinking about the future of work.”

The catch in Gen Y’s plan? Mom and dad. A majority of respondents said their parents would rather see them find “real jobs.” Gerber urges those parents to let their children try, fail, and learn from their mistakes. “Understand the reality of today versus the nostalgia of yesteryear,” Gerber said. “Instability is here to stay.”

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