After the 2008 shitstorm, a big trend in companies (including the one I work at) is to hire new hires as contractors rather than full time employees. They can work them just as hard but pay them less and deny benefits like health insurance. You may ask "how do they get away with that?" and the answer is simple: the job market sucks, and a shitty job is better than no job. I've been working as a contractor at a company in the tech industry for nearly 5 years now, and its not uncommon for this to happen here.