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