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The Outsiders

The number of free agents has grown, but is a backlash looming?

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This story appears in the June 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Last winter, Tarek Kamil, CEO and founder of Cincinnati techcompany Incigna Inc., had a highly specialized project none of his10 employees could handle. His solution? Outsource the work to afree agent. "I use them on client projects where I don'thave enough resources," says 32-year-old Kamil, whose companybrings in about $1 million annually. "They're a piece ofthe puzzle. I wouldn't be as successful without them."

Maybe so, but is an employer backlash looming against the"free agent nation"? Workplace consultant John Izzo,co-author of Values Shift: The New Work Ethic & What ItMeans for Business (Fairwinds Press), sees resentment offreelancers as employers fight to hang on to their full-timeemployees in a tight labor market. While many employers realizethey need to outsource certain aspects of their businesses to becost-effective, they now want to create loyal stakeholders in theirbusinesses. "There's an acceptance that free agents arepart of the landscape," says Izzo, "but there's[also] a trend toward wanting people who have a financial andpersonal stake in the company."

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