At Google, we strive to create workplaces and economic opportunities that work for both the people we employ directly and our extended workforce of vendors, temporary staff and independent contractors.
We’re sometimes asked why we have this extended workforce.
As Google has entered new lines of business and hired more employees, we need more outside expertise and support. Sometimes work is best done by Google employees. Other times, the work is best done by specialised companies that have particular expertise and can provide training, support and career ladders for their employees.
We contract with businesses around the world to provide specialised services where we don’t have appropriate in-house expertise or resources, often in fields that require significant specialised training like café operations, medical care, transportation, customer support and physical security. Vendors are employees of these businesses, and account for the overwhelming majority of our extended workforce. We also contract with temporary staffing companies when we need to cover short-term leaves, when we have spikes in business needs or when we need to quickly incubate special projects. Such temporary staff account for about 3% of our overall workforce. Finally, we obtain services from a small number of independent contractors, who comprise less than 0.5% of our overall workforce.
In an era of specialisation, flexible working hours, global supply chains, and remote or project-based work, this approach is widespread. Most companies routinely use vendors in areas where they don’t have expertise and resources; according to Information Services Group, this is common in almost every industry. And according to Staffing Industry Analysts, during the course of a year in the US, staffing companies hire nearly 17 million temporary workers.
Being a vendor, temporary worker or contractor is not intended to be a path to employment at Google. If a particular project develops in a way that requires long-term support, then vendors, temporary staff and contractors are welcome to apply for jobs and go through the same hiring process as any other qualified candidate.
We want working at Google or on Google-related projects to be a positive, rewarding and fulfilling experience. In April 2019, we announced that vendor and staffing partners working with Google in the US will be required to provide a new benchmark of benefits for their workers, including a $15/hour minimum wage, 12 weeks of paid family leave, eight days of paid sick leave, $5,000/year in tuition reimbursement, and comprehensive healthcare.
In a workplace of our size, not everything goes right all the time. We absolutely want to hear about and address any instances of inappropriate conduct. That’s why we give our extended workforce access to the same helpline as Google employees to report concerns, including the option to report anonymously. And that’s why we deploy a specialised team to investigate potential violations and take action. We have terminated Google employees who fail to live up to our expectations in their interactions with our extended workforce, and taken steps to resolve any issues.
We’re proud to create meaningful employment opportunities – at Google and at other businesses – for thousands of people. We choose our partners and staffing agencies carefully, and review their compliance with our Supplier Code of Conduct. We continually make improvements to promote a respectful and positive working environment for everyone – employees, vendors, temporary staff and contractors alike.