NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The corporate scandals that exploded in 2001 may explain why many young workers are choosing to work for themselves, a recruiting firm said Tuesday.
The private-sector backlash may also be a boom for non-profits and government agencies, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
"A growing number of people may see companies in the private sector as putting profits before people and before ethics," CEO John Challenger, said in statement.
While most companies are ethical, he added, that "does not matter, because the perception is there."
Growing anti-corporate sentiment may be driving a spike in self-employed twenty- and thirty-somethings, the firm said. The average number of self-employed workers ages 24 to 34 was about 1.5 million last year, up 6 percent from 2001.
Another 310,000 20- to 24-year-olds were self-employed in 2004, the highest annual average since 1987, according to Challenger, who cited unpublished data he obtained from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Government agencies and non-profits may also benefit from a negative perception of corporate work, Challenger said, noting that some government agencies will have to replace as much as 30 percent of their staff after 2006 due to a wave of retirements.