Telecom Titan Axing 55K Jobs, Embracing AI Replacements

BT Group, the prominent U.K. telecom company, announced on Thursday its plan to reduce its workforce by up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade, with the intention of incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) as a replacement in certain areas.

Philip Jansen, CEO of BT Group, emphasized the future vision, stating, “By the end of the 2020s, BT Group will rely on a much smaller workforce and a significantly reduced cost base. New BT Group will be a leaner business with a brighter future.”

BT to cut up to 55,000 jobs.

The tech and telecom sectors have experienced waves of job cuts as the industry grapples with sluggish economic growth and mounting inflation. Vodafone, a wireless carrier based in the U.K. operating in Europe and Africa, recently announced its plan to lay off 11,000 employees as part of a substantial restructuring effort.

Similarly, BT, formerly known as British Telecom and once a state monopoly, intends to eliminate approximately 10,000 positions by leveraging digitization, automation, and AI in its operational processes.

The reduction in jobs includes 15,000 roles related to the construction of fiber-optic broadband and 5G mobile networks, along with 10,000 positions involved in servicing and maintenance. Once the networks are fully deployed, BT anticipates a decreased need for a large workforce dedicated to their construction and upkeep.

As part of the job reductions, approximately 5,000 positions will be lost through conventional restructuring. Jansen assured that BT would collaborate with union partners during this workforce transformation.The company stated it “aims” to navigate this challenging transition period while minimizing the impact on its employees.

BT Group’s decision to cut 55,000 jobs not only affects employees and their livelihoods but also has broader implications for the economy. The wider community may experience adverse effects, as reduced consumer spending power could have a ripple effect on local businesses.

Moreover, it could result in a loss of valuable skills and expertise within the telecommunications industry, hindering future innovation and growth. The move also carries the risk of damaging the company’s reputation and customer relationships, as downsizing may strain its ability to provide quality services and support.