Yet another British telecoms conglomerate, the BT Group, has announced plans to lay off up to 55,000 jobs by 2030. It comes with at least 10,000 of those positions potentially being replaced by AI.
According to CNN BT Group CEO Philip Jansen stated on an earnings call that the corporation "will be a beneficiary of AI unequivocally." However, the technology will let the corporation provide customer assistance "in a more seamless way." Today, in 2023, the corporation employs around 130,000 employees. However, total labor resource includes both employees directly employed by BT and non-employees supplied by a third party. Having a quick look back into 2022 you can figure out a number around 170,000 employees in 43 countries (and 79,900 from the UK).
"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," CEO Philip Jansen said in a statement.
The UK telecom operator announced Thursday that its overall headcount will be dropped from 130,000 to between 75,000 and 90,000 by 2028-2030.
BT was starting to investigate new services and products that could be generated from "generative AI and large language model AIs" like OpenAI's popular ChatGPT, Chatsonic by Writesonic or Jasper Chat, launched by Jasper. Meanwhile BT has own AI powered chatbot Amy which “deals with lots of customer queries already" said Jansen.
As per Jansen, around 10,000 of the roles that BT will cut can be replaced by "digitization and automation" practices, such as AI replacements.
However, the recent hype in popularity of generative AI jumps to be luring more takers.
Vodafone company, the world's largest mobile telecom business, said earlier that it will be shedding 11,000 positions, or nearly 11% of its staff, over the next three years. Under new CEO Margherita Della Valle, the corporation recently launched a recovery strategy to resuscitate its flagging fortunes.
According to a new McKinsey research, European telecom businesses have performed particularly badly over the last decade, giving poorer profits to shareholders compared with their US equals.
Since April 2020, BT has already saved £2.1 billion in costs. "The strategy shifts to monetizing the infrastructure that's in place and leveraging new technologies to do that," said Matt Britzman, an equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, in his note. As a result, it is not "overly surprising given the mounting costs and slim margins in the wider business."