The next generation of franchising

This summer university graduates across the UK will be entering one of the toughest job markets in years, for some it could provide the ideal opportunity to launch their career as a franchise owner

Final year university students are facing one of the toughest job markets in decades. University leavers not only have to compete with other recent graduates, but also those who have been made redundant due to the recession. As well as this, many employers are cutting the number of recruitment targets for 2009 in an effort to steer their businesses successfully through the economic downturn.

Having been sheltered from the economic climate while at university, final year students now have to face up to the tough job market that awaits them. Research carried out by High Fliers Research, which conducted face-to-face interviews with 16,357 students at 30 universities across the UK, found that 52 per cent of students thought the prospects for new graduates were very limited, 36 per cent did not expect to get a graduate job this year, 48 per cent feared they may be made redundant within a year of work and 42 per cent feared if they did get a graduate job the employer would withdraw the offer before they started work.

The research also discovered that 25 per cent of final year students are planning to stay on at university for further study. However, with the average degree now costing £15,000, for many graduates getting into further debt while continuing to study is not an attractive option. Furthermore, students are often keen to start their careers and want to put their degrees to use in the workplace. With a large number of graduates pessimistic about their recruitment prospects, starting up their own business could be an ideal alternative. Going into business by yourself can be risky- however, you can avoid the common pitfalls of self employment by purchasing a franchise. As a franchise owner you have use of a proven business model and an established brand name, which combined increase your chances of success. For this very reason, banks look more favourably on those wanting to borrow money to buy a franchised business than those wanting to start up alone.

One of the main benefits for graduates wanting to launch a franchise is that the lack of experience that would hinder their job chances would be of no consequence to a franchisor. As part of the franchise package the majority of franchisors provide complete training and ongoing support to enable people to run the business effectively. Furthermore, many of the attributes franchisors do look for in franchise owners, such as good communication skills and self-motivation, graduates have learned while at university.

The vast majority of graduates are in their early 20s and as such the idea of managing a team of employees and having to hire and fire people would seem daunting to most. However, there are variety of franchises available, from management to hands-on businesses. This means that for those that want to work by themselves to start with, they can knowing they can grow the business at their own pace and take on employees at a later stage.

Whatever the size or type of business being run, being self-employed involves a lot of hard work and long hours. For many new graduates facing a tough job market, becoming a franchise owner could provide the career path they have been looking for.

Reported by Derin Ibrahim