BT Group Announces Up to 55,000 Job Cuts by 2030 to Adapt to Technological Changes

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BT Group, the largest broadband and mobile provider in Britain, has unveiled plans to slash up to 55,000 jobs, potentially over 40% of its workforce, by 2030. This move comes as the company completes its national fibre network rollout and adjusts to emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI). BT has been undergoing a transformation under the leadership of CEO Philip Jansen, focusing on building a robust fibre infrastructure and deploying high-speed 5G mobile services. Although BT reported pro forma revenue and core earnings growth for the first time in six years for the fiscal year ending in March, the cost of business transformation and the impact on free cash flow have taken a toll. As a result, the company’s shares dropped 7% in morning trade. Jansen stated that once the fibre rollout is completed and digitalization, AI adoption, and structural simplification are achieved, BT will operate with a significantly reduced workforce and cost base, positioning itself as a leaner business with a promising future.

The group anticipates reducing its total number of employees from 130,000 to between 75,000 and 90,000 by its 2030 fiscal year at the latest. Currently, approximately 30,000 workers are contractors. Jansen explained that job cuts at BT would accelerate as the fibre build-out concludes and 3G networks are decommissioned, aiming for a five-to-seven-year timeframe. BT’s competitor, Vodafone, also announced plans to cut 11,000 jobs worldwide in a bid to regain its competitive edge. Jansen emphasized that advancements in automation and AI would result in a reduced need for around 10,000 network engineers and another 10,000 jobs being replaced by technology. He expressed enthusiasm about leveraging AI’s capabilities, particularly generative AI large language models, which he believes will be as groundbreaking as the advent of smartphones.

BT intends to utilize AI to enhance customer service, tailor services to customer needs, and explore additional business opportunities. Jansen assured that despite these changes, BT would maintain its multichannel presence, online platforms, and 450 physical stores. The company’s recently announced full-year results met market expectations, with a 5% increase in adjusted core earnings, amounting to £7.9 billion ($10 billion). However, free cash flow declined by 5% to £1.3 billion, primarily due to higher capital expenditure. BT’s networks division, Openreach, remains committed to its target of connecting 25 million premises with ultra-fast full-fibre connections by the end of 2026. The company expects revenue and core earnings growth on a pro forma basis for the current year.

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