Title: Non-cognitive skills, occupational choices, and entrepreneurship: an empirical analysis of entrepreneurs' career choices

Authors: Alina Sorgner

Addresses: Chair of Business Dynamics, Innovation, and Economic Change, School of Economics and Business Administration, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Carl-Zeiss-Str. 3, D-07743 Jena, Germany

Abstract: Entrepreneurship literature provides evidence that non-cognitive skills, such as personality traits, predict entrepreneurial behaviour in terms of creating and managing a business venture. This study shows that an entrepreneurship-prone personality is strongly associated with other career decisions that are likely to lead to entrepreneurship, such as a choice of an occupation. Empirical analysis is based upon a representative survey of households, the German Socio-Economic Panel data (SOEP). The sample contains 46,489 observations, 10.3% of which refer to self-employed individuals. The findings suggest that entrepreneurial personalities are significantly more likely to be attracted by Holland's artistic, investigative, enterprising, and social occupations, and they are significantly less likely to choose realistic and conventional occupations. Moreover, non-cognitive skills, human capital variables and socio-demographic characteristics are differently associated with entrepreneurship in various occupations. The implications of the results for entrepreneurship research and practice are discussed.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; self-employment determinants; occupational choices; Big Five; personality traits; entry barriers; occupational types; non-cognitive skills; entrepreneurs; career choices; entrepreneurial behaviour; Germany; human capital variables; socio-demographics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2015.069286

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2015 Vol.25 No.2, pp.208 - 230

Available online: 07 May 2015 *

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