Barclays is a well-known multinational bank. Recently, it has come under the spotlight due to its substantial staff layoffs. Barclays eliminated jobs in its UK retail and trading divisions. This move is part of its annual performance improvement efforts. This is a common practice across many companies.
Barclays’ CEO, Venkat, stated that they regularly adjust their workforce. So that they can meet their needs, these job cuts have sparked questions about the bank’s overall strategy. Besides, it impacts the employees and what it signifies for the entire banking industry.
Let’s take a closer look at the details surrounding Barclays’ layoffs. Before coming to the main topic, let’s highlight the company’s overview!
Barclays stands as a prominent British multinational universal bank. Its headquarters is in London, England. Its operations are structured around two primary divisions. These divisions are Barclays UK and Barclays International.
They are further reinforced by the support and services provided by Barclays Execution Services. Barclays was founded in 1690. It originated as a goldsmith banking business in the City of London. In 1736, James Barclay became its partner.
In 1896, several banks, including Goslings Bank and Backhouse’s Bank, merged. This merger formed Barclays and Co. This marked the beginning of Barclays’ expansion into a nationwide bank.
Barclays established the first cash dispenser around the world in 1967. Over the years, Barclays has grown through various acquisitions. Including London, Provincial, and South Western Bank in 1918. British Linen Bank in 1919. Mercantile Credit in 1975. The Woolwich in 2000, and the North American operations of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
Is Barclays Laying Off Employees?
Barclays recently made significant job cuts. It laid off approximately 450 employees in its UK retail division. The bank is currently in the process of identifying which roles will be eliminated. The firm is anticipated to focus on head office positions, including those at the vice president level. Besides, the bank laid off around 5% of client-facing staff in its trading division. This move aimed at improving performance. Job cuts might also impact the bank’s dealmakers globally.
Barclays CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan, commonly known as Venkat, explained. “We continually adapt our workforce to meet our evolving needs.” He stressed, underlining that the job reductions at Barclays were a routine occurrence. It mirrored what’s happening in other companies as well.”
These upcoming job cuts would mark at least the third round of downsizing in the past year for Barclays. They previously cut around 200 jobs in November 2022. In comparison, another 100 workers were laid off in April 2023. Employees, particularly in their investment banking division, were impacted in that layoff round. It happened due to a decline in deal volume in the first half of 2023.
In 2020, Barclays aimed to cut costs. Reports were suggesting they laid off about 100 senior employees. These job cuts were primarily focused on directors and managing directors within the trading division of the investment bank. It affected both London and Asia. It’s important to note that this news was not officially confirmed then.
In 2014, Barclays underwent a major restructuring. As part of this, they took the significant step of cutting 19,000 jobs. This overhaul involved a substantial downsizing of their investment banking division as it reduced its size and scope considerably. The CEO at that time made it clear that the primary goal of this move was to prevent a recurrence of the disputes and controversies that had arisen the year before regarding employee bonuses.
However, Barclays is not alone in implementing multiple rounds of staff reductions. Goldman Sachs is reportedly planning to cut underperforming employees soon. This could affect anywhere from 1% to 5% of their workforce, as reported by the Financial Times.
Morgan Stanley has also undergone at least two rounds of layoffs. One in December affected 1,600 employees. Another round was conducted in June, involving approximately 3,000 positions.
Citi, too, announced job cuts. Its CFO, Mark Mason, mentioned 1,600 job reductions in the second quarter. Further cuts are expected as the bank has allocated funds for severance costs. These severance costs cover 5,000 employees this year.
In response to the Barclays job cuts. The labor union Unite criticized them as “unnecessary and unjustified.” According to Reuters, Unite’s national officer, Dominic Hook, pointed out. “Barclays is a highly profitable bank and questioned the need for such layoffs.”
Reasons for Barclays Layoffs
A spokesperson for Barclays stated. “We continue to review and adapt our operations based on how customers choose to interact with us. These changes will enable greater collaboration across our teams. It allows us to continue to improve service for customers and clients.” Recently, the bank engaged in discussions with Unite regarding its efforts. So that it can streamline its UK operations. Unite opposes the job cuts. Also, called them unnecessary, urging Barclays to commit to no compulsory job losses.
Venkat, the CEO of Barclays, is reportedly reevaluating the bank’s strategy due to investor dissatisfaction with its stock performance compared to its Wall Street peers.
This year, Barclays has witnessed an increase in employees leaving the company. Especially in its investment banking division, following management changes at various levels. Venkat attributed this to a generational shift. He emphasized that it’s a natural occurrence. Also, mentioned that the bank is still actively hiring.
In response to inquiries, Barclays initially refrained from commenting. Later, stated that they are adapting their operations based on changing customer preferences. Or they are committed to supporting their employees during this transition.
These job cuts aim to reduce Barclays’ cost-to-income ratio as it was the priority for CEO CS Venkat Krishnan. In the first half of the year, the bank invested about $87 million in restructuring its global operations. In India, Barclays made significant management changes. It appointed Pramod Kumar as the new CEO to replace Ram Gopal, who served for six years.
Additionally, Suneeta Shetty was hired by HSBC Holdings Plc as the COO in India. The company’s turnover in India tripled over a decade, outperforming key Asian markets like Singapore and Hong Kong.
Impact of Barclays Layoffs On Employees
Barclays’ layoffs in its trading and investment banking divisions are a part of cost-cutting measures. These layoffs will affect technology banking juniors. Not only this, but it also affects the underperforming leveraged finance associates in London. Investment banking coverage groups in New York are impacted, and analysts lose their jobs.
The impact on employees is expected to be significant. It led to financial stress and emotional challenges. Finding new job opportunities in a competitive market adds to the uncertainty. Barclays has not officially commented on the impact of these layoffs on its employees.
Barclays must provide support during this tough period, including financial assistance, career guidance, and job placement services. Transparent communication about the reasons behind the layoffs is crucial. The steps taken to lessen their impact are also important.
All in All, Barclays’ layoffs will substantially impact its employees. The bank must offer support and transparent communication so that it helps those affected workers during this challenging time.
Plans and strategies
Barclays has a plan to expand its flexible banking formats. So that they can meet changing customer needs. They offer “Barclays Local” in various community locations. Also, introduce new banking pods across the UK.
The plans include:
- Barclays has ambitious plans to extend its Local initiative in the coming year. There are over 70 new sites slated for expansion in 2023. This expansion strategy encompasses not only the growth of existing locations. But also the introduction of banking services in entirely new areas where Barclays has yet to establish a presence.
- Launching new banking pods are purpose-built, semi-permanent structures in places like shopping centers and retail parks.
- A commitment to provide alternative in-person services in communities when a branch closes.
- Scaling Barclays’ ‘Cashback without Purchase’ service across the UK. Investment in industry solutions via the Cash Action Group (CAG).
- As customers increasingly use digital channels, Barclays is adapting its physical presence. They aim to provide in-person support through flexible formats, including branches that align with customer needs.
- Barclays Local, already established with 200 locations by the end of 2022. It involves partnerships with local councils and communities to offer in-person banking assistance. It also includes digital skills workshops and fraud awareness events.
- Now, Barclays plans to expand this model to areas without an existing Barclays presence. It is increasing accessibility for more customers. They’re also introducing banking pods in shopping centers and retail parks. Besides, Barclays plans to roll out at least ten by summer 2023.
- Barclays is also adding six electric vehicle (EV) banking vans to its fleet of 10. It allowed them to reach customers in remote locations. They will continue to assess physical sites to match their presence with local community needs.
Barclays’ focus on customer service and access to cash aligns with its commitment to provide alternative in-person options in communities where branches close.
Jo Mayer, Head of Everyday Banking at Barclays UK, emphasized their dedication to offering flexible and tailored in-person support in various locations, adapting to evolving customer preferences.
In addition, they’re expanding their “Cashback without Purchase” service. It offers free cash withdrawals through small businesses. It is also actively involved in industry initiatives like the Cash Action Group (CAG).
In conclusion, the Barclays layoffs have been a significant development as they impact the bank’s workforce and raise questions about the broader industry. These layoffs have affected employees across various roles and locations.
The implications of these layoffs are multifaceted. For Barclays, layoffs are part of an ongoing effort to streamline operations and improve efficiency. However, these job cuts have led to financial stress and uncertainty in a competitive job market for the affected employees.
In final thoughts, the Barclays layoffs highlight the challenges banks face in balancing cost-cutting measures with the well-being of their employees. Adapting to changing customer needs and embracing digitalization is crucial. But it must be done with a compassionate approach that supports the workforce during transitions. The future will likely see further transformations in the banking sector as it strives to remain competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing financial landscape.