Depending on their working arrangements, self-employed Americans have a decidedly mixed retirement outlook, a new report says.

While the common assumption might be that, because they’re often unable to access a workplace retirement plan, self-employed workers should lag their non-self-employed counterparts in retirement readiness, analysis released today by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that this depends on the self-employed worker's work setting.

Pew looked at a 2014 University of Michigan study of more than 4,200 American workers aged 50 to 65 and put the workers into three groups: the non-self-employed, who work for a traditional employer; the solo self-employed, who work as single-person firms; and self-employed people who are independent workers in multiperson firms.

The study found that the self-employed lagged other workers in retirement plan participation. While more than 72% of the not self-employed respondents participated in a plan, less than 30% of the self-employed in multiperson firms and  only 13% of the self-employed in single-person firms participated in a plan.

However, responses diverged widely when it came to average defined contribution plan assets. The non-self-employed had $51,000 in median plan assets, while the self-employed in a single person firm had $50,656 and workers who were self-employed in a multiperson firm, on the other hand, had $186,000.

The non-self-employed had $122,800 in average plan assets, while the self-employed in single-person firms lagged with just $61,745. Yet self-employed workers in multiperson firms had $384,737.

In other words, the self-employed, who make up about 17% of the U.S. workforce, may or may not be as ready for retirement as the non-self-employed depending on their work setting. Pew believes the discrepancy exists because many of the self-employed in multiperson firms work in high-earning professional careers.

Some of the data Pew analyzed support that conclusion. For example, a disproportionate share of respondents who were self-employed in multiperson firms reported having a doctoral level degree. Those workers also worked longer hours for higher wages than their single-person self-employed and non-self-employed counterparts. The self-employed in multiperson firms also reported that their spouses possessed retirement plan assets well above their counterparts.

Pew also found that a disproportion number of people who considered themselves “partially retired” were working in single-person, self-employed settings.

Pew used data from the Health and Retirement Study conducted by the University of Michigan in 2014.