There’s a legion of temporary contract workers and vendors at Microsoft. And they will not be immune to the workforce cuts Microsoft announced today.
In fact, they will be targeted, according to an email sent by COO Kevin Turner to the teams that report to him.
These workers are officially known as “contingent staff” in Microsoft-speak. But employees know them as the “orange and yellow badges.” The colour of the badge designates them as either a contract worker or a vendor. Full-time employees have blue badges.
Turner said in the email that his teams (the global sales, marketing, and services organisations) will “reduce our reliance on contingent staff augmentation by over 20% year-over-year,” reported ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley.
Business Insider did not see a copy of the email, but confirmed with a source that the email was sent and discussed these cuts.
Microsoft doesn’t report how many contingent staff it hires, so it’s unclear how many will be included in the 20% reduction.
There’s long been a subculture at Microsoft surrounding these employees. Way back in 2005, Microsoft blogger Todd Bishop wrote about them, and about how they were subtly treated differently than full-time employees.
That’s still true today, one Microsoft employee told Business Insider. Our source says these workers do “a lot of the real work” but that there are some “blue badges” who “think they are above” them, and that their job is to supervise them, not work side-by-side.
Whether a full-time employee or a contract worker, Turner has made it clear that Microsoft was “going to get lean, like it or not,” our source said.
We reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update if we hear back.
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