back to article Google quietly ices contractors

Internet giant Google quietly got rid of an unspecified number of contract workers late last year. Mountain View’s spending plans were outlined in a 15 December Securities and Exchange Commission filing that was submitted only in paper form and therefore flew under the radar of the various web services that track SEC filings …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do No Evil

    I'm a consultant yet am so pleased to read:

    "In November Google said it would significantly cull the number of contractors it had on its books, and that it wouldn’t wield the job axe at its full-time staff."

    Most permies hate consultants/contractors because companies cull permies and keep the contractors on (e.g. UBS, Alliance and Leicester, Barclays). Unless the permies have a different skill set, releasing the contractors is the ethical thing to do before taking an axe to the permie workforce.

    Do no evil - perhaps "do less evil" is true.

  2. Rob

    How long...

    ... before all this Google secrecy comes undone to unveil Google's finances as being shaky to say the least (not saying they are, just speculating)

    I still have the feeling that Google is hiding the fact that it is another IT/Web firm who has over inflated it's own worth. Unfortunately this recession has weeded out a lot companies with bad business models/practices and there is definately still more to come.

  3. John Stirling

    Shaky finances?


    In the same filing they are requesting an exemption from being classified as a mutual fund. That classification only applies if you have enough money on hand that you aren't going to need it in normal operational circumstances. It is going to be a 'net of debt' figure, so from that one can reasonably assume that Google has quite a lot of cash on board. And that is without going to look at the balance sheet.

    Ok, I went and looked. 14 billion dollars at 30/9/2008 - of which 8 billion is cash, and 6 billion 'short term instruments'. Total debt of 3 billion dollars. that's a ratio I'd be happy with. Not quite the heady days of MS - but substantial, and very cash flow positive - they have spent a few billion on companies and infrastructure in the last 9 months, without any meaningful change in their short term asset position.

    Of course the numbers could be entirely made up - but that is a bit trickier than it was a few years ago.

  4. Dave Minter
    Thumb Up

    Nice to see.

    I'm a contractor.

    This is what we are for. You should use us as short term replacements for missing skills while you bring existing staff up to speed, or as short term placeholders while you find suitable staff to fill a spot permanently.

    Sure, in tight job markets you might hang on to a decent contractor for the longer term, but at times like this it's only prudent to thoroughly trim the contractors before you consider letting the full timers go.

    Not that I have a problem with it if a company wants to hang on to me in these circumstances - but it doesn't strike me as a sound business sense and it's nice to see Google yet again doing the right thing (doubtless Orlowski can put a sinister slant on it though).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...are tossers(*). They cut skilled, experienced (ie "old" or long-term) staff to cut costs and hire people with little or no skill but nice-looking pieces of paper straight from school for a fraction of the "old-timers'" salary, then have to hire Contractors (often the staff they just dumped on) to fill the skills void while trying to get the kids up to speed with the way things work in the real world (as against in the classroom).

    Maybe Google has realised that axed Permies often go on to become Contractors, and that once a Contractor has been screwed over by their (ex-)employer, Company Loyalty is in somewhat short supply...

    (*) not /all/ Beancounters, obviously. Like not all "Technicians" or "IT Engineers" with MCSEs and no experience are complete wastes of space, and not all fish are incomplete without a bicycle...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Google quietly ICES contractors?

    Wasn't that a 1960's euphamism for TWEPing? (Or, for any laymen who may have wandered by unexpectedly, "Terminating With Extreme Prejudice").

    Or have they covertly covered them in marzipan, fondant and white sugary stuff and hidden 'em on the cake stand until the current economic speedbump is passed?

    Or sent them off to drive the Streetmap Black Vans through Siberia and the Polar regions?

    Mines the one with the fur lining, 'snorkel' hood and mittens with string through the sleeves...

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