British telephony group BT announces the elimination of 55000,<> jobs
Outside BT's headquarters in London, May 18, 2023. AP - Kin Cheung
Text by: RFI Follow
The British telephony group BT, which had already begun to cut its costs in a difficult economic context, announced on Thursday, May 18 that it would cut up to 55,000 jobs by 2030.
BT will rely by the end of the 2020s "on a much smaller workforce and significantly reduced costs," Chief Executive Philip Jansen said in a statement. This represents up to 42% of the total 130,000 people employed by the group, directly or through intermediaries.
BT's announcement comes two days after that of its rival Vodafone, which aims for 11,000 job cuts over three years to boost its competitiveness in a context of performance and stock prices that have been at a low level for several years.
BT invokes this Thursday the same reasons to justify this elimination of 55,000 jobs by 2030. But management is also adding two more. First, it will soon finish installing 5G networks and fiber optics. It will therefore need much less manpower in this area. In addition, 10,000 of the 55,000 jobs that would be cut would be related to artificial intelligence, according to BT's chief executive. Digital bots will increasingly be used to manage calls, but also to help diagnose network problems.
The company's unions say they are concerned, but not surprised. One of them hopes that job cuts will take place first with subcontractors or through voluntary departures.
Artificial intelligence: which jobs are at risk?
Michael Aim, an expert on artificial intelligence issues in business, explains in which other areas we can expect job cuts related to this new technology.
« Everything that will be accounting, everything that will concern the administrative and financial management will be strongly affected. There are a lot of tasks of this type that will be supported by artificial intelligence: analysts, legal departments in companies... All of this is going to be extraordinarily affected. It's going to be a bit of a complicated moment. Jobs are likely to disappear. Is this a bad thing? Unsure. Some jobs deserve AI assistance to be less alienating. »
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