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In business, a free agent refers to someone who works independently for oneself, rather than for a single employer. These include self-employed workers, independent contractors and temporary workers, who altogether represent about 22 percent of the U.S. labor force. The term free agent is believed to have been coined by Daniel H. Pink, author of a 1997 cover story in Fast Company titled “Free Agent Nation.” In 2001 Pink published a book with the same name. The combination of several workplace trends – including shortened job cycles, the increase of project work, the acceptance of a new lifestyle and the emergence of the Internet and other technology – points to free agent workers becoming more of an employment norm in the coming years. In a 2002 survey sponsored by Kelly Services, a global staffing company, 93 percent of free agents believe demand for their skills is moderate or high.
created August 26, 2011
updated February 11, 2013