Barclays axes 5,000 jobs globally in cost-cutting drive

Barclays axes 5,000 jobs globally in cost-cutting drive
  • PublishedJanuary 9, 2024

Barclays is expected to confirm that it is shedding just over 5% of its global workforce when it reports annual results next month, Sky News learns.

Barclays is in the process of removing 5,000 roles from its global workforce as part of a renewed push by executives to slash costs and improve the bank’s profitability.

Sky News has learnt that a total of roughly 5,000 jobs were shed from the British bank’s 84,000-strong ranks during 2023, with about a quarter of the reductions thought to have taken place in its UK operations.

The roles have been lost through a combination of redundancies and vacancies that will not be filled following the introduction of a hiring freeze in the middle of last year, according to an insider.

The level of workforce reduction is more than double the figure which circulated in media reports late last year, and represents one of the most significant cost-cutting plans at Barclays since the 2008 financial crisis.

The redundancies which form part of the programme are already in train but are yet to be formally announced publicly by the bank.

However, in a statement on Monday responding to an enquiry from Sky News, a Barclays spokesman said: “Barclays removed approximately 5,000 headcount globally through 2023 as part of its ongoing efficiency programme designed to simplify and reshape the business, improve service, and deliver higher returns.

“The group is also creating capacity to selectively hire front office roles in key businesses.

“The majority of the individuals impacted are within Barclays’ support function, Barclays Execution Services “BX”, and the Barclays UK Chief Operating Officer function, as management layers are reduced and the Group improves its technology and automation capabilities.”

Barclays said it was “supporting impacted colleagues with training, advice and outplacement services, depending on their location”.

“The headcount reduction programme forms part of the potential material structural cost action charge announced at Q3 2023 results, to be taken in [the] Q4 2023 [results],” it added.

Barclays is likely to be pressed for more details on ongoing cost-cutting plans at its annual results next month.

The bank has been grappling with the performance of its investment banking operations for years, and has committed to tackling the issue under CS Venkatakrishnan, its chief executive.

Nevertheless, the largest proportion of the redundancies taking place at the group is focused on its central services division, called BX, which provides back office support to other areas of Barclays.

Reporting third-quarter results in October, Mr Venkatakrishnan was candid about the challenges facing the company as it sought to become more efficient.

“We always modulate the size of our workforce everywhere in the world in which we are, and that’s what we will continue to do,” he told the media.

He added that Barclays would “look for efficiencies in different parts of the bank…are trying to make, and create, and run, a more efficient organisation…and you should expect us to look in all those places where we think we can increase productivity”.

Mr Venkatakrishnan – known as Venkat – was parachuted into the top job after the sudden exit of Jes Staley in November 2021.

Mr Staley left amid a bitter dispute with the City regulator over allegations that he had not been frank about the nature of his friendship with the late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

In October, the Financial Conduct Authority fined him more than £1m and banned him from the City after concluding that he had misled colleagues and the regulator about his ties to Mr Epstein

Barclays has been plagued by debate over the future of its investment bank for many years.

Under Bob Diamond, who became chief executive in 2011, it had pursued an aggressive and successful attempt to force its way into the ranks of Wall Street’s titans.

Since Mr Diamond departed over the Libor rate-rigging scandal in 2012, perennial questions have arisen about whether the group

On Monday, shares in Barclays were trading at around 154,75p, giving the bank a market capitalisation of about £23.5bn.

The stock has fallen by about 10% during the last year.


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