BT Group, the United Kingdom’s leading telecom operator, announced Thursday that it aims to cut up to 55,000 positions by the end of the decade and replace some of them with artificial intelligence as part of a cost-cutting makeover.
BT, which employs 130,000 people (staff and contractors), stated in its most recent financial report that its workforce would be cut to 75,000 to 90,000 by 2030.
“By the end of the 2020s, BT Group will be relying on a much smaller workforce and a significantly reduced cost base,” stated CEO Philip Jansen. “The new BT Group will be a leaner organization with a brighter future.”
Companies in the technology and telecommunications sectors have been laying off workers as the industry undergoes a difficult restructuring in the face of slowing economic growth and rising inflation. Vodafone, a U.K.-based wireless carrier that operates in Europe and Africa, said days ago that it will lay off 11,000 employees as part of a significant restructuring.
BT, a former state monopoly formerly known as British Telecom, will remove approximately 10,000 jobs through digitization, automation, and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in its processes.
15,000 jobs will be lost when establishing fiber-optic broadband and 5G mobile networks, and 10,000 will be lost while supporting and repairing them. Once those networks are completely operational, BT will no longer require as many personnel to create or maintain them.
“All of the equipment is simpler, newer, and more flexible, nimble.” And we have AI and all the data that can help us construct self-healing networks,” Jansen explained. “So we’ll be a huge beneficiary in terms of efficiency and costs, which is why we know we won’t need all of these roles in the future.”
According to Jansen, 5,000 jobs will be lost due to “conventional restructuring.” He stated that BT will engage with union partners to eliminate positions and would also rely on attrition.