Artificial Intelligence: Global Telecom Company BT To Slash Headcount By 55,000, Including 10,000 Jobs Lost To AI
The completion of a rollout of full fiber broadband and 5G infrastructure and AI will help BT adopt a leaner structure.
Telecom giant BT (LON: BT.A) has unveiled plans to reduce its workforce by up to 55,000 employees by 2030, which represents over 40% of its global employee base. The company intends to become a “leaner business” by embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies. Approximately 10,000 jobs are expected to be replaced by AI. BT currently employs around 130,000 staff globally, including 80,000 in the UK. It aims to reduce its total workforce to between 75,000 and 90,000 by 2030.
BT’s decision is driven by the ongoing rollout of full fibre broadband and 5G infrastructure, which has resulted in a decreased need for engineers. The company believes that AI can enhance efficiency in various areas such as call handling and network diagnostics. Philip Jansen, the CEO of BT, stated that the introduction of AI could lead to the elimination of around 10,000 roles. (The Guardian)
The job cuts will be implemented globally, but a significant proportion is expected to occur in the UK as the fibre broadband and 5G rollout nears completion and older technologies are phased out. BT plans to rely on a smaller workforce, as the new networks are more efficient. The company anticipates achieving cost savings of £3 billion ($4.1 billion) by 2025.
While BT’s union partner, Prospect, expressed concern over the scale of the cuts, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) stated that the reduction in labor costs was anticipated due to the adoption of new technologies and the completion of the fiber infrastructure build. The CWU emphasized the importance of retaining as many direct labor jobs as possible and suggested that reductions should initially affect subcontractors and occur through natural attrition.
In a similar move, Vodafone recently announced its intention to cut 11,000 jobs worldwide over the next three years, which marks the largest job reduction in the company’s history.
Related Story: Sundar Pichai, The CEO Of Google, Cautions Society To Prepare For The Consequences Of Accelerated A.I.
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