BT to hire 400 graduates and apprentices
BT has announced plans to welcome over 400 graduates and apprentices during its September 2023 intake, who will work in areas including engineering, customer service, cybersecurity and applied research. The intake should also boost the firm's 5G buildout across the UK, according to BT.
The telecom incumbent has been focusing on growing its talent pool, having recruited 2,600 apprentices and graduates in the last four years. It was ranked third in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers ranking, with apprentices forming 6.2% of the company's workforce as of March 2022. BT also said it is investing in other initiatives to support young people and jobseekers, such as the FastFutures digital skills program for recent high school or university graduates.
This latest news follows plans announced in July to hire 2,800 staff for BT's digital arm. Only 1,000 of these positions were to be UK-based, however, with the rest located in India. The telecom incumbent's workforce has continued to shrink since 2018, when it counted over 106,000 employees, compared with 98,400 at the end of 2022. This reduction falls short of the 13,000 jobs it planned to cut as of 2018, although hiring has taken place in the meantime. Some more positions may also vanish in future.
Savings, strikes and a glimmer of automation on the horizon
In November, BT stepped up its cost reduction target from £2.5 billion (US$3.1 billion) to £3 billion ($3.7 billion), but claimed most of the savings would be achieved by supply chain efficiencies, while staff reductions would come mainly in the form of natural losses. In the same month, however, the company also agreed to increase annual pay to roughly 85% of its UK workforce by £1,500 ($1,856) per employee, following industrial action by staff hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis.
One of the issues BT is facing is low revenues per employee. On this metric, the company is well behind its European peers, such as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Orange.
In the long run, BT is hoping to pursue significant automation, as per remarks made in 2021 by its then chief network architect Neil McRae. This may reduce the need for new staff in the coming years, although such promises have so far been slow to materialize in all markets.
- Telcos don't look very brutally automated
- BT prefers India to UK in hunt for 2,800 'digital' pros
- Eurobites: Strike-hit BT reaches deal with unions over pay
- Eurobites: BT combines business units, hopes for £100M-a-year savings
— Tereza Krásová, Associate Editor, Light Reading