BT Group confirms it will employ a much smaller workforce by the end of the decade, thanks to the arrival of new technologies including artificial intelligence (AI).

The UK carrier announced it will cut 42 percent of its workforce by 2030, which means that its total workforce will fall to between 75,000 and 90,000 by 2028-2030, from 130,000 employees currently. This translates to 55,000 job losses.

The carrier said the reduced workforce will come as it will have finished its full fibre deployment in the UK, coupled with the arrival of new technologies such as AI, which will reduce its need for so many customer service personnel.

BT Open Reach Rebrand. London. Picture Steve O’Connell 21-06-17

Job losses

The announcement about the job losses comes after the former UK telecoms incumbent posted a solid set of financial results.

For the full year ending 31 March 2023, BT Group posted a net profit of £1.9 billion, up from a profit of £1.3 billion a year earlier.

Total revenue for FY23 rose to £20.7 billion, from £20.8 billion for FY22.

“We have delivered our outlook for FY23: this year we’ve grown both pro forma revenue and EBITDA for the first time in six years while navigating an extraordinary macro-economic backdrop,” noted Philip Jansen, chief executive. “Over the last four years we have stuck firmly to our strategy and it’s working.”

“Openreach is competing strongly and it’s clear that customers love full fibre,” said Jansen. “The Openreach Board has reaffirmed its target to reach 25 million premises with FTTP by the end of 2026 and plans to accelerate take-up on the network.”

“In Consumer we’re delivering for customers with strong growth in FTTP and 5G, and we’re also seeing green shoots in B2B with a return to revenue growth in the final quarter in Global and the creation of our newly integrated Business unit,” said Jansen.

“By continuing to build and connect like fury, digitise 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. New BT Group will be a leaner business with a brighter future,” Jansen concluded.

Jansen was quoted as saying by Reuters that after completing the fibre roll-out, digitising the way it worked, adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and simplifying its structure, BT would rely on a much smaller workforce and significantly reduced cost base by the end of the 2020s.

The BT news about jobs comes as Vodafone earlier this week announced it will axe 11,000 jobs as part of its turnaround plan from its new CEO.

Operational highlights

Some of the past year highlights for the BT Group was that a FTTP (fibre to the premise) build of 702,000 premises was passed in the quarter, at an average build rate of 54,000 per week, with 41 percent of its 25 million build completed.

BT said its FTTP footprint of 10.3 million, was up 43 percent, with a further 6 million where the initial build is underway.

BT also noted that customer demand in Openreach for FTTP is extremely strong with FY23 orders up 70 percent year on year.

BT noted a record quarter of consumer FTTP connections up 50 percent year-on-year with the base now over 1.7 million.

The carrier also said it now has 8.6 million 5G connections, up 62 percent on last year; and its 5G network now covers 68 percent of the UK population.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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