When it comes to free agents, far more employees can call themselves part of the demographic than just athletes. That’s according to a new report by Kelly Services, which found that nearly a third of employees fall under the category of free agent — and accountants and corporate finance professionals are among the most common.
New analysis published Thursday (Sept. 3) in the “Kelly Services 2015 Free Agent Survey” found that about one-third of all workers in the U.S. are free agents — even more (34 percent) are free agents in the Asia Pacific region, while 27 percent of employees in Europe fall into the category.
Finance and accounting held 16 percent of all free agent workers, second only to employees in the information technology sector and coming out ahead of the engineering industry, which held 15 percent of the population.
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Researchers also identified five types of free agents: the independent contractor, the freelance business owner, the temporary worker, the moonlighter and the diversified worker — those with various sources of income.
According to Global Talent Solutions for Kelly Services Senior Vice President and General Manager Teresa Carroll, the rise of the free agent is largely a response to a weakening economy, as seen in 2011 levels, which reached their highest. The number of free agents in today’s economy, however, remains higher than before the recession.
“These free agents are defining a new, blended approach to work — one that offers the benefits associated with traditional employment along with the opportunity to pursue personal interest and passions,” Carroll said. “They are actively combining traditional employment with free agent/freelance work.”
The prominence of accounting and finance professionals landing in the free agent category coincides with several new trends in enterprise management. For example, the on-demand economy is now spreading to the business world, and some services are providing on-demand CFOs, accounting executives and advice to business owners when they need it.