Landmark National Study Reveals Millions Join a New Age of Career Independence; Surprising Picture Emerges of Motivated Workforce Pioneers Leading the Charge

HERNDON, VA — (Marketwire) — 09/06/11 — MBO Partners today announced the release of an inaugural Independent Workforce Index — a landmark study that examines the state of independent work in America and provides the first national baseline to help track trends and changes in the independent workforce over time.

While the current workforce picture is one of struggle and gloom, this survey reveals a trend to a new age of career independence: there are more and more professionals migrating to working independently; they are more satisfied with their lifestyle choice and they are actively seeking to remain independent.

Key findings from the survey include:

“While the government has yet to offer meaningful data about the independent labor market movement, with our new study, we can for the first time share quantitative data about independent work and also offer deeper insights into the pioneers driving this new way to work,” said Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners. “The study reveals that there already are more than 10 million independent experts, 70% of the independent workforce, offering specialized knowledge and skills to the open market. The study also sounds an important call — suggesting the group could be more than 21 million strong in just three more years. Just as important, however, is the revealed entrepreneurial spirit of this new expert economy — their drive to work for liberty over money, their motivation to be their own boss, and to trade office politics for true expertise in a field of work they love. Independence is a career trend we can all admire and learn from.”

The study revealed that 14% or 28 million American workers 21 and older said they are likely to be independent within the next two years. In fact, of those who said they want to go independent, six-in-ten have already taken action, while one-third have conducted research, and two-in-ten have prepared a business plan, talked to prospective clients, or gotten advice on business issues. Some have even taken major steps such as applying for a business tax ID (13%) and building a business website (14%).

Independents tend to be 30-49 years old, nearly half have a college degree. The average income of an independent worker is approximately $52,600.

Only 24% chose to become independent because of loss of a job due to lay-off, termination or closure.

Independent Across the Generations

Survey respondents are most concerned with: not enough predictable income (56%), worry about job pipeline (46%) and planning for retirement (46%). Other key burdens included setting boundaries on work so that it doesn’t become a 24/7 commitment (32%), managing business details (28%) and collecting on accounts receivables (12%).