AI Impact: British Telecom to Slash 55,000 Jobs Over the Next 7 Years

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British Telecom is gearing up to slashing more than 50,000 job over the next several years as it reshapes the business and as the impact of cutting edge AI technologies unravel. BT will end up slashing nearly 55,000 by 2030, which amounts to about 40 percent of the behemoth's workforce, Reuters reported on Thursday.

"By continuing to build and connect like fury, digitize the way we work and simplify our structure, by the end of the 2020s BT Group will rely on a much smaller workforce and a significantly reduced cost base," British Telecom CEO Philip Jansen said.

BT will soon explore new products and services using generative AI and large language model AIs, the company said.

BT, which has been trimming expenses of late, has already cut $2.6 billion in costs since April 2020.

British Telecom
British Telecom Reuters

Two factors that reshapes BT's business in the ext decade are the completion of the fibre roll-out and the rapid emergence of Artificial Intelligence technologies. UK's biggest broadband and mobile provider has rolled out high-speed 5G mobile services even as it built a national fibre network.

BT boss Jansen said that the former state monopoly will require a smaller workforce once it completes fibre roll-out and the digitisation of the prcocesses. Moreover, the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to further simplification of its business structure.

Artificial Intelligence
Wikimedia Commons

"New BT Group will be a leaner business with a brighter future ... It's a rolling programme (of cuts), but it's a five-to-seven-year landing zone," Jansen said, according to the news agency.

BT currently has 130,000 workers. This number will be reduced to between 75,000 and 90,000 by its 2030 financial year, the CEo said. As many as 30,000 of the current employees are contractors, whose jobs will be affected.

job cuts

Jansen explained that at least 10,000 human roles will be directly replaced by AI, digitization and automation. He said artificial intelligence technology will help in delivering more seamless customer services. "We will be a beneficiary of AI unequivocally .... Our chatbot Amy deals with lots of customer queries already," he said.

BT shares were down 7 percent on Thursday after the company announced annual results. BT said revenue dropped 1 percent to $25.8 billion for the year to March.

The news of the job cuts at BT comes days after mobile telecom group Vodafone, said it was cutting 11,000 jobs, or about 11 percent of it workforce.

This article was first published on May 18, 2023
Related topics : Artificial intelligence