Google's headcount is over 50% 3rd party contractor - is this sustainable?

Akamai Technologies hpBF22
Sep 1 11 Comments

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-has-more-temp-and-contract-workers-than-actual-employees-but-they-have-far-fewer-rights-2019-05-30

A 50% contractor percentage seems ridiculously high to me. I'd imagine there is a lot of overhead involved with maintaining such a massive 3rd party vendor workforce. Unlike Uber where the contractors do only 1 job (drivers) google contractors are spread out across nearly all job functions (SDE, SDET, Marketing, recruiting, project management, etc etc) and are deeply integrated within all aspects of the firm. Over half the company are now third party contractors!

Wouldn't it be more efficient to hire these people as full time instead? The contracting companies (Infosys, HCL, etc) are taking a 20% cut so surely Google could pay people their current rate and tack on benefits w/ the 20% that would have gone to the contracting company. But then, of course, the hiring bar would be significantly lowered because it is massively easier to join as a contractor. They could perhaps introduce lower tiered job titles? Or just live with a lower bar.

I'm guessing the prime motivation for the high contractor % is to preserve the Google prestige while putting bodies in cubicles to keep the lights on. Now with reports of the Pittsburgh office unionizing, are they reaching the limits of this strategy?

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TOP 11 Comments
  • New RedSnow
    At google, pretty much all of the staff doing 1) kitchen staff 2) campus security 3) tech support 4) cleaning staff 5) gym staff 6) content curation / moderation filtering
    are contractors. I read Facebook has like 20k people working on just content moderation. It’s not surprising google also has 10s of thousands of people also as contractors.
    Sep 1 4
    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      Google has software engineers as contractors
      Sep 1
    • New RedSnow
      Nearly all SWEs are FTEs. Contractors are a single digit percentage of them. The NYT article (which I assume you read) really blows this % out of proportion by conflating non-eng staff with eng staff.
      Sep 1
    • Akamai Technologies hpBF22
      OP
      The article has nothing to do with eng vs non eng. the point is that > 50% of employees are contractors. And the contractors aren’t limited to blue collar work - plenty of white collars are contractors as well.
      Sep 1
    • New RedSnow
      > The article has nothing to do with eng vs non eng. the point is that > 50% of employees are contractors. And the contractors aren’t limited to blue collar work - plenty of white collars are contractors as well.

      Dude as someone who knows more than a dozen google employees, I can assure you the article is intentionally spreading BS. The whole issue with the article, is that they make no distinction between eng and non-eng contractors. Because *the vast majority of google contractors are not doing eng*. The heavily biased article takes a few sample quotes, from TVCs in eng, and imply eng TVCs make up the majority of contractors at google. That’s not true. Please don’t believe everything you read online. You clearly don’t understand what you’re reading, because now you’re claiming “>50% of employees are contractors”.

      Please, go organize your thoughts, look through what I contributed to this thread, and don’t take half-truth articles you see online at face value.
      Sep 1
  • Cisco alcoho
    Google execes know how to run their company So we don't need to worry about its sustainability!!
    Sep 1 1
    • New / Strategy Porsche996
      That explains Google pixel device support!
      Sep 1
  • Periscope Data / Other
    dnb90

    Periscope Data Other

    PRE
    Johnson & Johnson, Intuitive Surgical, Medtronic, Nevro, Periscope Data
    dnb90more
    Google ain’t what it used to be that’s for sure
    Sep 1 0
  • Netflix Pablo.E
    Cheap labor is sustainable
    Sep 1 0
  • Microsoft / Eng coolbloke
    Are there that many Infosys HCL on the first place?
    Sep 1 0
  • Microsoft bhgcdtjllh
    Who are the biggest contractor companies for Google? WITCH?
    Sep 1 0

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