BT looks to AI to reduce staff numbers 

May, 2023 - Shoosmiths LLP

BT announced earlier this week that it plans to cut between 40,000 and 55,000 jobs by 2030. It expects around 10,000 of these roles to be replaced by AI, particularly in customer services.

BT’s recent announcement is a reminder that increased use of AI is now a key board agenda item, with businesses exploring whether they can increase efficiency and improve operations by investing in generative AI. Initially, the jobs at greatest risk from the advancement of AI look to be support or back office functions including roles in finance, call centres, secretarial/clerical, market research and design/media.

Although BT hopes to achieve its cuts without compulsory redundancies due to its relatively high staff attrition rate, this may not be possible for everyone. Employers wanting to avoid compulsory redundancies need to risk-assess their organisations now, to see which skill sets are most likely to be impacted and consider whether they need to replace staff who resign. There may be significant financial and organisational advantages to offering staff in potentially vulnerable roles the chance to upskill or change jobs now, to avoid redundancy and recruitment costs later. If redundancies do look inevitable, then it will be essential to understand the legal processes involved to minimise the risk of employment claims, and budget for those redundancy costs.



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