Google Terminating Contractors, Including 500 Recruiters

Nov 26, 2008

Reports are surfacing that Google has begun eliminating some of its 10,000 contract workers, trimming expenses in the face of a declining stock price and slow online ad growth. Included in that number, according to several sources, including Daya Baran, president of The Web Guild, are 500 recruiters.

The company signaled in October during its third quarter financial presentation that it intended to reduce expenses. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, told The (San Jose) Mercury News, that the company had a plan to reduce its contract workforce by improving its vendor management, converting some contractors to employees and “other approaches.” “It’s really high,” the newspaper quoted Brin as saying of the number of contractors.

Google reported in its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has 20,123 employees. Among the 10,000 contractors are cafeteria workers, bus drivers, groundskeepers, off- and on-site programmers, and technical workers and others.

In a CNET story this week, Google spokeswoman Jane Penner didn’t provide a specific number of the contractors to be let go, but was quoted saying, “We have 10,000, and we have had a plan in place for awhile to significantly reduce that number.”

While the news may be hitting contractors hard, it’s creating opportunity for recruiters. A few have started posting contact information on sites where stories about the layoffs are appearing.

As for the laid off recruiters, one person posted to the Web Guild blog that they signed non-disclosure agreements prohibiting them from discussing their work with Google and, presumably, the terms of their termination.

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