BT is hiring a further 2,800 staff for its resurgent BT Digital arm — with the aim of growing its team to 6,300 people, from 3,500 at the start of the financial year. It plans for the majority to join by April 2024.
The recruitment drive will include 1,800 new staff in India and 1,000 in the UK.
The move comes four years after BT announced plans to reduce its UK worforce by 10% or approximately 9,000 jobs over three years as it moved to modernise operations. Investors are liking what they see from the company including renewed digital transformation efforts and a sharply reduced pension deficit.
The announcement comes five months after BT signed a £30 million deal with flexible technology workforce provider Distributed — which will see it provide AI, cloud, product, design and other teams to BT Digital, the company’s platform delivery and product development digital arm, which is led by CDIO Harmeen Mehta.
Given that BT has taken equity in Distributed and described the decision in February as helping BT “extend our internal pool of talent” (our italics) it was not immediately clear if the newly announced roles included flexible ones under that contract. (The Stack has asked the question of BT and will update when we get an answer…)
Updated: BT said “While bringing some of these resources in house will contribute to overall spend reduction, which remains a core priority for BT Group, [For absolute clarity, this is spend that would have gone to external contractors that will now going to BT colleagues] there is still a vast amount of competition for good tech talent in the current market and working with Distributed allows us access to their elastic teams of tech workers that can support our short-term needs. The partnership also provides a route into BT for people that want it.”
“Digital was founded to accelerate BT’s transformation, innovation and return to growth. To succeed, we need to bring in and upskill the top digital talent, and our efforts will boost the tech communities in the UK and India along the way,” Harmeen Mehta, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at BT said in a press release.
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BT hiring will span product management, software engineering, cloud, design, data, AI and machine learning and agile delivery, BT said — adding, amid investor focus on BT’s costs, that “the incremental costs associated with these hiring plans are offset by a reduction in our reliance on subcontracted labour”.
(Whilst technology staff are being brought in-house in various forms, other areas of the business are being outsourced, including core warehouse and transport capabilities which the telco announced it was handing to GXO Logistics in February as part of a modernisation programme announced in 2021 to improve operations. This included the creation of BT Sourced as a standalone procurement company within the group. Impressively, in November, BT announced the programme had already achieved its £1 billion cost savings target 18 months early.)
The new UK technology staff will be based in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Belfast, Ipswich and London. Indian staff will be based around BT’s hubs in Bengaluru and Gurugram. The press release suggests a focus on non-remote working, saying “wherever possible, colleagues will be based out of one of BT’s amazing new regional workspaces where they can come together to collaborate when they need to.”
The recruitment deal comes as BT continues sweeping digital transformation efforts, with a mission of what it described in its 2021 strategic report as as a process of “radically simplifying our IT estate, embracing cloud solutions and common components… [and building a] new IT architecture, based on modern, modularised software components deployed on industry standard platforms. Half of BT Digital’s budget, £600 million, is currently spent on maintaining “legacy” systems, and the weight of those legacy systems – representing 80% of BT’s 2,400 applications – means BT’s IT cost to revenue ratio is 40% worse than other telco peers.