Companies Under Pressure to Attract Highly-Skilled Independent Professionals, According to MBO Partners® Client of Choice 2018 Study

MBO Study Reveals How Companies Can Effectively Attract America’s Independent Professional Workforce

HERNDON, Va.--()--Today’s businesses must compete in a “war for talent” to attract and retain top contingent labor, according to a new report from MBO Partners®, the leading provider of independent workforce solutions. The Client of Choice report is the only survey of its kind examining how and why independent professionals pick the clients with whom they choose to engage.

Despite the lowest unemployment numbers in nearly two decades, independence is a viable – and desirable – career path for many. There are 7.3 million independent professionals in the United States today. For purposes of this report, independent professionals are defined as those who provide services to businesses rather than products. This population of workers has risen from 4.5 million in 2011, a 62 percent growth.

This labor shift has opened an opportunity for companies, many of which engage independent professionals to capitalize on skills not found in their full-time workforce in order to solve critical business problems with agility, as well as to save costs. But as independent professionals grow in number, they also grow in power.

“For businesses to effectively compete in the marketplace, it is critical to engage the best and the brightest independent professionals,” said Gene Zaino, CEO of MBO Partners. “To do so, they need to understand both how and why independent professionals choose their clients, and what clients can do to position themselves as a Client of Choice.”

Several key trends emerged from this study:

  • It’s not just about the money. Independent professionals cited clients as appreciating the quality of their work, being treated as a valuable team member, liking their superiors and getting paid well as the most significant factors that contribute to their satisfaction.
  • Independents call the shots. 82% of independent professionals say they have some or a lot of choice in determining with whom they will work.
  • Independents like how—and with whom—they work. The majority of skilled professionals report being satisfied with their client relationships, with 85 percent saying they are very satisfied and only 1 percent saying they are very dissatisfied.
  • Women independent professionals are more drawn to the control and flexibility aspects of the independent career path then men, with 65 percent of women citing the ability to control their schedule compared with 51 percent of men.
  • Millennials need more guidance. Seventy-five percent of millennial independent professionals said they want clients to provide some kind of education and training, versus 49 percent of non-millennials. Millennial independent professionals are a growing presence in the independent workforce, with 68 percent working independently for less than two years, compared with 32 percent of non-millennials.
  • Independent professionals work this way because they choose to do so.

They cite a desire for greater work/life flexibility (59 percent), a desire to control their schedule (57 percent), and a desire or need to earn more money (46 percent) as the top reasons for going independent.

“Businesses looking to be a Client of Choice for independent professionals should know that communication is the number one driver for client satisfaction,” said Linda Mann, Senior Vice President, Direct and Connect Business Units, at MBO Partners. “At a time when companies are under pressure to attract top independent talent, our research shows that a good onboarding process, a clear project scope, and a recognition that they are making an impact are key to highly-satisfied independent professionals.”

For more information or to obtain a copy of MBO Partners’ Client of Choice report, please visit

About MBO Partners

MBO Partners has the industry’s only complete business operating system for independent workers, offering technology solutions that make it easy for self-employed professionals and their clients to do business. By re-envisioning and streamlining the entire contract talent acquisition and engagement lifecycle, MBO improves how independents operate and succeed while helping enterprises reduce risk and get the best return on their contractor investments. To learn more, visit


For MBO Partners
Jenny Wang, 202-379-0826


For MBO Partners
Jenny Wang, 202-379-0826