Alphabet, like most companies, hire a number of contractors to do different things for the company. And according to a report out of Bloomberg, Alphabet actually had more contractors than direct employees in the past year. Seeing as Alphabet's headcount is already over 85,000 in the first quarter - and jumped to over 89,000 in the second quarter - that's a whole lot of contractors. Companies use contractors as it saves them money, but unfortunately for the contractors, it means there's very little job security.
Typically, Alphabet hires contractors for areas that it doesn't have expertise, or in areas that it needs some temporary support. This includes things like covering for parental leave or spikes in work. These contractors will cover a wide range of tasks for Alphabet, which includes custodial duties, sales jobs and even some programming positions. Alphabet will usually hire these employees through staffing firms like Adecco and Cognizant, they do still get many of the company perks that regular employees get. This includes the free food that Alphabet provides its employees. But most of the benefits come from agencies that they are hired from, which cuts costs significantly for Alphabet. But it also means that these contractors may be left with some pretty big costs. One former contractor for Google said that he had to pay around $600 per month for diabetes-related coverage, as it wasn't covered by the benefits from Google and Adecco.
Contractors can save companies like Alphabet a whole lot of money, mostly because it doesn't have to pay for benefits and it can pay them less than regular employees. Which is how many are able to cut costs and improve their profit margin on their quarterly reports. But it is interesting to see that Alphabet does have more contractors than actual employees, and it'll be interesting to see how that changes in the future.