January 28, 2009

Freelance Ranks Growing as Economy Is Slowing, Kelly Services Survey Shows

TROY, MI, Jan 28, 2009 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- Self-employed "free agents" now constitute slightly more than one-fourth of the U.S. working population, reflecting a two-year increase that may be fueled in part by the current economic situation, according to a new survey by human resources solutions company Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB).

The company's Web survey of 900 adults, representing all four generations in the workforce, showed that 26 percent classify themselves as freelance professionals, or free agents, up from 19 percent in 2006. The term "free agent" comprises individuals freelancing with or without the support of a temporary staffing agency, including independent consultants, temporary and contract employees, and entrepreneurs and business owners with or without staff.

While almost three-fourths of the respondents are directly employed by a company or firm, 28 percent of these "traditional workers" say they would consider working as a free agent in the future. Among those unlikely to consider it, 45 percent cited health care insurance as a concern.

Other survey highlights include:

--  Among the 63 percent of survey participants planning to retire in the
    next five to seven years, about half (49 percent) indicated that their
    retirement plans include seeking other employment.
--  The oldest respondents, sometimes known as the Silent Generation,
    included significantly more freelancers than younger generations (38
    percent compared with 26 percent overall).


"Though the vast majority of people become free agents by choice, others find themselves in this situation due to layoffs and downsizing," said Mike Webster, executive vice president and general manager, Kelly Services. "Fortunately, free agents are often essential to a functioning business and are particularly valuable during tough times because of the flexibility they provide employers as more work becomes project based."

Free Agent Statistics

-- Approximately one-quarter of the U.S. working population are now
   working as free agents (26 percent) up from 19 percent in 2006
-- Most free agents voluntarily sought their current employment
   status -- 90 percent
-- More than one-quarter of "traditional" employees -- 28 percent --
   are likely to consider working as a free agent in the future
-- Significantly more free agents are satisfied with the following
   than are traditional employees:
   -  Opportunity to expand skills (57 percent vs. 39 percent)
   -  Opportunity to advance in field/career (54 percent vs. 38 percent)
   -  Level of stress in current employment situation
      (52 percent vs. 45 percent)

About Kelly Services, Inc.

Kelly Services, Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA) (NASDAQ: KELYB) is a world leader in human resources solutions headquartered in Troy, Mich., offering temporary staffing services, outsourcing, vendor on-site and full-time placement to clients on a global basis. Kelly provides employment to more than 750,000 employees annually, with skills including office services, accounting, engineering, information technology, law, science, marketing, creative services, light industrial, education, and health care. Revenue in 2008 was $5.5 billion. Visit www.kellyservices.com.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Judith Clark
Kelly Services, Inc.
248-244-5362
clarkju@kellyservices.com

Christina Klenotic
Dix & Eaton
216-241-4636
cklenotic@dix-eaton.com


SOURCE: Kelly Services, Inc.

mailto:clarkju@kellyservices.com
mailto:cklenotic@dix-eaton.com

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