British telecoms and television group BT said Thursday it would axe up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade to slash costs in the latest tech-sector jobs cull.
The layoffs, comprising 42 percent of BT’s workforce, come two days after UK mobile phone giant Vodafone unveiled plans to cut 11,000 jobs or one tenth of staff over three years.
BT employs 130,000 staff, including contractors. The group will lower this to between 75,000 and 90,000 people over the next five to seven years, it said in a results statement.
The grim news follows the axing this year of tens of thousands of jobs across the global tech sector, including by Facebook parent Meta, as soaring inflation saps the world economy.
BT is implementing further cutbacks, having slashed costs under a plan launched three years ago.
“By the end of the 2020s, BT Group will rely on a much smaller workforce and a significantly reduced cost base,” said chief executive Philip Jansen.
The company was “navigating an extraordinary macro-economic backdrop”, he added in a results statement.
The slimmed-down group “will be a leaner business with a brighter future” and will “digitise the way we work and simplify our structure”.
BT said that once its full fibre broadband and 5G network was rolled out, it would not need as many staff to build and maintain it.
The firm also revealed Thursday that net profit soared 50 percent to GBP 1.9 billion (roughly Rs. 19,816 crore) in its fiscal year to March, but the performance was skewed by a one-off tax credit.
Pre-tax profit however sank 12 percent to GBP 1.7 billion (roughly Rs. 17,476 crore) from a year earlier, while revenue dipped one percent to GBP 20.7 billion (roughly Rs. 2,12,736 crore).
Investors meanwhile took flight following the news.
BT’s share price sank almost nine percent to 134.80 pence in morning deals on the rising London stock market.
“Headlines will no doubt focus on the job cuts,” noted Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Matt Britzman.
“It’s drastic, but it’s not overly surprising given the mounting costs and slim margins in the wider business.”