Today, too, Silicon Valley is a highly segregated place - at least, when you compare the professional class to other categories of workers. The contract workers who make up its service sector are more likely to be Hispanic: 'While eight percent of direct-hire workers in the tech industry are Hispanic, the number is 35 percent of workers in potentially contracted industries,' wrote reporter Lydia DePillis in the Washington Post. DePillis added that a majority of Silicon Valley blue-collar contract workers - 52.9% - were Hispanic.
Many Silicon Valley tech companies, including Google and Facebook, use the time-tested strategy of employing contract laborers to handle menial labor. Such tactics save the corporations money and preclude them from paying benefits, while keeping the contract worker underclass comprised of precarious, mobile, easy-to-lay-off workers with low wages and high job insecurity. In 2016, 'subcontracted' workers, as they are known, made '70 percent of the salary that in-house workers in similar occupations make, or an average of $40,000 a year compared to $113,300 for directly-hired tech employees,' according to a Washington Post profile of these workers. The former Google subcontractor I spoke to, Danielle, described the gap as even wider, and mentioned some Google employees doing the same work as contractors yet making as much as 3 times what the temps made. 'The subcontractor company ... reserved the right to terminate at any time or for any reason,' she said, adding that she and others were afraid to speak out about their conditions.