Portfolio Workers and Free agents – Are they the same?

by Barrie Hopson on September 21, 2008 · 0 comments

in Uncategorized

No! Most portfolio workers will be a free agent as described by Daniel Pink, but not all free agents will be a portfolio worker. Having said that figures from the US are supporting our claim that portfolio careers are becoming more desirable for people of all ages but particularly Generation Y and the over 50’s.
Free agents are expected to represent 40 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2012, according to market research firm EPIC-MRA.
The move to hiring temporary and contract employees, portfolio workers and consultants can be beneficial for both companies and workers. Companies enjoy greater flexibility in meeting the cyclical ebbs and flows of business and realise tremendous cost savings related to benefits and the administration of a full-time, permanent workforce. Individuals design and manage their own careers.
However, one of the losses for most portfolio workers are benefits that often accompany a traditional job. Maybe in the UK we can learn from an institution set up 2 years ago in New York called Working Today.
By joining Working Today, free agents can secure some of the economies of scale enjoyed by traditional workers. A $10 membership fee buys access to health insurance, office supplies, computer software, and airline tickets, all at group discounts.
Traditionally, trade unions have derived their strength from seeking to establish a monopoly on the sale of labour in a certain industry or region. In this radically new economy, Working Today is establishing more or less a monopoly of buyers — in short, a consumer union. It’s practically impossible for free agents to bargain for wages as a group. But it’s relatively easy for them to bargain together for better prices on the things they all must buy. Free agents represented by Working Today can say, “Sell us health insurance and office supplies at a reasonable price, or we’ll take our business — and there’s a lot of it — elsewhere.”
There’s a business idea here for some portfolio worker!

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