BT is slashing 13,000 jobs and plans to leave central London

BT has announced ambitious plans to save £1.5 billion over three years by cutting 13,000 jobs. The roles, the company revealed, would be chiefly in middle management and back-office roles, with a third coming from outside the UK in the Global Services division.

Additionally, the telecoms giant will be seeking to leave its current premises near St Paul’s in London, with a view to taking on a smaller – and presumably cheaper – office. It’s not all cost-cutting measures, however – BT announced it would be hiring around 6,000 new employees to “support network deployment and customer service.”

The backdrop for this is interesting. On the surface of it, things are going pretty swimmingly for BT, which just announced annual pre-tax profits of £2.6bn – a rise of 11% year-on-year. But there are wider forces at play – not only did the firm lose £530 million on its Italian unit due to “inappropriate behaviour”, but the company’s pension pot is reported to have a £14 billion deficit. On top of that, and as BT frames the decisions itself, the company is facing “increasing competitive intensity from established companies and new entrants.”

The company stressed the importance of “transforming its operating model to build a lean and agile organisation that delivers sustained improvement in customer experience and productivity.”

Gavin Patterson, the chief executive of BT offered a predictably upbeat assessment of the changes. “BT is uniquely positioned be a leader in converged connectivity and services,” he said citing scale, range of products and its number of partnerships. “This position of strength will enable us to build on the disciplined delivery and risk reduction of the last financial year, a period during which we delivered overall in-line with our financial and operational commitments whilst addressing many uncertainties.

“I am really excited to be delivering the next stage of BT’s transformation and have put in place the team that will support me in achieving these objectives.”

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