Telecoms giant BT has announced plans to cut up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade as it seeks to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
The company, which employs about 130,000 people worldwide, said it expects to have a “much smaller workforce” by the end of the 2020s, with up to 40% of its staff leaving or being replaced.
The announcement came as BT reported a 12% drop in pre-tax profits to £1.7bn for the year to April, partly due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on its business and consumer segments.
BT’s chief executive Philip Jansen said the company was facing “significant challenges” and needed to “transform” its operations and culture.
He said: “We have a clear strategy to become more agile, more efficient and more customer-focused. This will enable us to deliver faster and better services for our customers and create value for our shareholders.”
He added that BT was investing in its network infrastructure, including rolling out fibre broadband and 5G mobile services, as well as expanding its digital and cloud capabilities.
BT said it had already reduced its headcount by about 8,000 in the past year, mainly through natural attrition and voluntary redundancies.
It said it would continue to review its organisational structure and processes, and work with unions and employee representatives to minimise the impact of the job cuts.
The company also said it would pay a dividend of 7.7p per share for the current financial year, after suspending payouts last year due to the pandemic.
BT’s shares rose by more than 6% in early trading on Thursday, as investors welcomed the dividend news and the cost-cutting plans.