Telecom Giant to Cut 55K Jobs by 2030

    Telecom Giant to Cut 55K Jobs by 2030
    Last updated May 18, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters


    • The UK's largest broadband and mobile provider, BT Group, has said that it will cut up to 55K jobs — potentially more than 40% of its workforce — by 2030 as it completes its fiber network rollout and adapts to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI).[1]
    • BT currently employs roughly 130K staff globally and 80K in the UK alone, with approximately 30K of them being contractors. The company added that 10K of those laid off will be replaced by AI.[2]
    • As the broadband provider switches its network from copper to fiber, it won't need as many staff to build and maintain its networks, and it projects that AI will take over customer service jobs.[3]
    • While CEO Philip Jansen said that people will no longer "feel like they're dealing with a robot" and they're "not planning on changing" their 450 stores, the Communication Workers Union said the job cuts were "no surprise."[1]
    • Though BT shares were down 8% in early trading, it said its target revenue for the fiscal year 2024 is in line with its outlook.[4]
    • This announcement came just days after BT's rival, Vodafone, announced it was planning to cut 11K jobs over the next three years. Vodafone cited efforts to remain competitive as it negotiates a potential merger with another British telecom operator as the reason for the cuts.[5]


    Narrative A

    While it seems scary, the replacement of human workers with AI is nothing to be scared of. BT will replace some humans with computers, but BT says it will use AI for mundane jobs such as detecting software bugs and fixing them. Just as machines replaced people in plowing farms and assembling widgets in factories, this, too, will lead to the emergence of new advanced jobs for people to take up while computers are in charge of the grunt work.

    Narrative B

    The AI revolution is not like the industrial or tech revolutions of the past, and governments should be prepared to deal with that reality. If 300M jobs are replaced in the coming decade — as Goldman Sachs predicts —and there's no way to stop it, then our leaders should work to ensure those at the bottom get a piece of the financial boom. AI may very well take away employment, but it shouldn't take away livelihoods and the human experience we all deserve.

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