2015 Global Free Agent Research
In 2015, Kelly surveyed over 5,200 workers across thirteen countries in three regions, spanning all generations, genders, and a multitude of work arrangements to understand the percentage of the workforce currently engaging as free agents, the drivers and motivators of free agents, and views of traditional workers with respect to the free agent workstyle.
The results of the survey provide insights into the changing talent landscape and offer a closer look into the world of nontraditional work.
Nearly a third of workers globally identify themselves as free agents. These workers represent 34% of the workforce in the Asia-Pacific region, 31% in the U.S., and 27% in Europe. The portrait of free agents that emerged from the research challenges some commonly held notions.
Today's free agents are:
- Independent by choice — 75% choose free agency for positive reasons, entering the work arrangement to improve their personal and professional lives, driven by the freedom and flexibility the workstyle affords.
- Highly educated — Overall, they are more likely to hold higher degrees than those in traditional employment, with 48% holding university/college or advanced degrees.
- Highly skilled — 69% possess a professional/technical skill set, as compared to 59% of traditional workers.
- More prevalent among older cohorts — The propensity to work as a free agent increases as people progress in their careers, with 67% of the silent generation identifying as free agents.
- Committed to the free agent lifestyle — More than half (56%) consider free agency a lifelong career choice.