Philip Jansen, BT

BT to slash 55,000 jobs by 2030 in “brutal” cost-saving plan

The telco aims to become more lightweight through layoffs and digitisation
Philip Jansen, BT. Image: Getty

18 May 2023

BT has announced plans to axe up to 40% of its workforce by 2030 as it looks to become a “leaner business” and rely more heavily on digitisation and AI to cut costs.

The telco giant currently employs around 130,000 people worldwide, around 80,000 of whom are UK-based, but will seek to reduce this to between 75,000-90,000 between FY28-30.

The news came alongside poor results, with revenue of £20.7 billion down 1% year-on-year and profit down 12% across the same period due to “increased depreciation from network build and specific items”.




The Telegraph reportedthat up to 10,000 jobs, roughly a fifth of the slashed roles, could be directly replaced with automation technologies such as AI.

“By continuing to build and connect like fury, digitise the way we work and simplify our structure, by the end of the 2020s BT Group will rely on a much smaller workforce and a significantly reduced cost base,” said Philip Jansen, CEO at BT.

“New BT Group will be a leaner business with a brighter future.”

Its shares fell by more than 10% in early trading.

Kester Mann, director of consumer and connectivity at analyst firm CCS Insight, to ITPro that major cuts were expected given BT’s annual cost savings target of £3 billion by 2025.

He added that the scale of these redundancies has nevertheless come as a shock to the telecoms sector.

“This brutal decision – just two days after Vodafone confirmed 11,000 job losses – reflects consistent underperformance of the telecoms sector despite continued strong demand for its services,” said Mann

“BT has struggled as much as anyone: its share price is down around 40% since Philip Jansen took the helm in February 2019. The CEO – whose own position has reportedly been under threat – will expect the cull to hasten BT’s migration to a much more lean, simple, and efficient organisation.”

Mann also stated that greater use of automation and artificial intelligence will make up many of the roles, while the completion of BT’s fibre rollout in 2026 would also lead to job cuts.

In its results, BT stated that it has hit 41% of its target 25 million UK premises connected with full-fibre, FTTP broadband.

Network engineers are also expected to lose jobs as BT completes its 5G rollout, with the firm’s network now covering 68% of the UK population and connections up 62% over the financial period.

“We have made it categorically clear to BT that we want to retain as many direct labour jobs as possible and that any reduction should come from sub-contractors in the first instance and natural attrition,” a spokesperson said.

“We have also stated that it’s imperative that we should be in the room discussing and shaping the new skills required of the workforce as they move to a more digital network to ensure our members have a stable, secure career within BT well into the future; to which the company has agreed ongoing discussions with the CWU on these matters.”

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