In a bid to streamline operations and bolster profitability, Barclays Bank has recently confirmed a massive workforce reduction, with 5,000 jobs cut worldwide as part of an extensive cost-cutting initiative.

The move is seen as a pivotal step in the bank’s ongoing efforts to simplify and reshape its business model.

The substantial reduction in headcount, representing approximately 6 percent of its global workforce of 84,000 employees, occurred last year.

Sources indicate that roughly a quarter of these cuts have affected employees in the United Kingdom.

Barclays emphasised its commitment to supporting affected employees, offering training and guidance tailored to individual needs based on their geographical locations.

The bank cited a hiring freeze, along with redundancies, as contributing factors to the significant reduction in personnel.

Which jobs were most affected?

A spokesperson for Barclays stated that the restructuring aims to “improve service and deliver higher returns.” The majority of impacted positions were reportedly in back-office support teams, as the bank focuses on reducing management layers and enhancing technology and automation capabilities.

This move aligns with Barclays’ broader strategy to enhance profitability, as outlined in its third-quarter results from October of the previous year.

The banking giant clarified that the decision is part of an ongoing savings program that has already witnessed job cuts in its retail and investment banking segments.

Barclays has been no stranger to restructuring efforts in recent years, with nearly 200 branch closures as part of a shift towards digital banking, citing a decline in face-to-face transactions. The latest announcement follows a trend of strategic measures aimed at adapting to changing market dynamics.

An austerity measure?

Despite reporting pre-tax profits of £1.9 billion for the three months ending September—slightly surpassing analysts’ expectations but lower than the £2 billion reported a year ago—Barclays faces increased scrutiny ahead of the publication of its full-year results for 2023 next month.

Industry experts suggest that these job cuts constitute one of the most significant austerity measures at Barclays since the 2008 financial crisis, intensifying pressure on the bank to demonstrate the efficacy of its restructuring initiatives in the face of economic challenges.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.