Fractional Employment: What is it and why does it matter?

Fractional Employment

Fractional Employment: What is it and why does it matter?

For nonprofit organizations, discovering and retaining top talent is vital to achieving their missions. Attracting passionate nonprofit candidates can occasionally require utilizing a new approach, particularly in today’s competitive and ever-evolving market; the fractional staffing model is one of these. So, what is fractional employment, and why is it beneficial? Today, we discuss the fractional role and why you should consider it as an option for yourself or your organization.

What Is Fractional Employment?

Fractional employment refers to an emerging employment model in which an employee is hired for a fraction of the 40-hour work week. Similar to a contractor or freelancer, a fractional employee spends a specific amount of time each week with an employer or multiple employers, offering a portion of their time and expertise.

Likely originating in finance and academia, where time is split between various duties, this employment model is not project-based and generally has a longer contract than part-time work. An employee operating in this model retains the flexibility to create their own part-time or full-time schedules, depending on their needs. A full-time fractional work schedule, for example, might look like working two days a week for two companies and working one day a week for a third.

Contractor, Fractional Worker, Freelancer: What’s the Difference?

While a fractional employee is similar to a contractor or freelancer, there are key differences between the three:

A contractor (also known as an independent contractor or temporary employee) is a self-employed external employee who is contracted for predetermined long-term projects. Typically, their labor encompasses long-term project-based or interim work. A contract hire usually has set working hours and is contracted one client at a time.

A fractional employee is a self-employed individual offering niche or advanced experience to several different employers during a work week. Providing continued services to an employer and more regular hours than a part-time role, a fractional position likely offers the same kind of work as full-time employees but on a shortened timeline.

A freelancer is a self-employed individual offering specialized services to multiple clients. Generally, their labor comprises short-term projects. A freelance hire has full control of their schedule and may work with multiple clients at one time.

The Pros and Cons

Is fractional employment right for you, your team, and your organization? To learn more about whether fractional employment is a good fit, weigh the pros and cons below.


Flexibility: Employees can create their own schedules, work on a variety of projects, and hone in on precise skill sets and experience.

Increased employee satisfaction: In difficult or demanding work environments, hiring on a fractional basis can increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and turnover.

Greater organizational commitment: Employees can choose how often they work and with whom, allowing them to work for organizations they want (instead of need) to work for.

Better work relationships: Because fractional employment is not project-based, employees and companies can build lasting relationships over the course of their collaboration.

Reduced hiring costs: Employers can access specialized expertise without the costs of a full-time hire, paying only for the services they need.

Global reach: Employees can work from home and market skills around the world, increasing their client reach.

Enhanced salary security: If a fractional hire loses a job, they still have backup options to rely on.

Greater competitive edge: Employers can gain valuable industry knowledge from fractional hires, giving them a competitive advantage.


Lack of benefits: Fractional hires are legally classified as a contractor for payroll and taxes. As such, they do not receive benefits such as health insurance.

Reduced in-house collaboration: Employers may not be in proximity to experts for the purpose of in-house collaboration.

Increased self-marketing efforts: Employees will need to market and sell their own services.

Unsteady income: Employees do not receive guaranteed income each payday.

Why Utilize Fractional Recruitment?

The fractional staffing model provides immense value for the following reasons:

  • It offers a niche, specialized talent pool to choose from.
  • It fills skill gaps in teams and organizations.
  • It includes a variety of positions and tasks: You can hire fractional executives, fractional leadership, and many other types of fractional professionals.
  • It focuses on results more than time spent.
  • It works well with entities that perform work for clients, such as marketing and service agencies.

We recognize that locating and retaining the best nonprofit talent in today’s market can be difficult. Consider utilizing fractional teams to help attract new nonprofit employees to your organization!

Scion Executive Search Can Help You Retain Your Top Talent

Our reputation has a way of preceding us, and our foundation is deeply rooted in the relationships we’ve established with individuals, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and educational institutions. Each of our clients receive unparalleled reach into national and local networks, containing millions of executive candidate options. From executive leadership in social services to foundations, Scion Executive Search stands ready to connect you with the talent you’re searching for! Contact us today to get a search started or visit our website to find out more about us!

About the Author

Jennifer Warren, Technical Writer (she/her/hers) 

Jennifer Warren is an enthusiastic and meticulous technical writer at Scion Executive Search (SES). Committed to excellence and constant growth, she draws on her strong editorial and organizational skills to expedite executive searches for nonprofits and community-focused organizations. Those who work with Jennifer praise her for her initiative, strong language skills, transparent communication, and enthusiasm to support her clients and colleagues. 

Jennifer has spent most of her career in the publishing industry. Before joining SES, she worked at a crafts book publisher for seven years, first as a production editor, preparing manuscripts for print, and then as an associate editor, curating content for new publications. Jennifer has also worked in the nonprofit sector as a grant writer, preparing and submitting applications for program funding. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from California State University East Bay with a Bachelor of Arts in English. 

Jennifer holds a strong appreciation for work that improves the lives and circumstances of others, especially in the areas of mental health; child welfare; and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has volunteered in California for BRIDGEGOOD (formerly Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center) and the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano.