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BW Businessworld

Global Giants Plan Thousands Of Job Cuts

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As companies battle the economic slowdown, the employees at large companies in the US and Europe seem to be facing the axe in a major way.

More than 1,35,000 job cuts have been announced by just about a dozen multi-national companies in past few months in their efforts to slash costs and those from the financial services space are among the worst hit.
However, the employees in India have largely been spared of these layoffs, although most of these companies have significant presence in the country.

Those having announced massive job cuts, running into thousands at each of these companies, include financial service giants like HSBC, Bank of America, Barclays, Credit Suisse and Lloyds Banking Group, as also consumer goods majors such as Whirlpool and Royal Philips Electronics.

Besides, mobile handset giant Nokia, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, drugmaker Merck & Co, aircraft and defense giant Boeing and networking technology major Cisco have also announced large-scale job cuts in their operations.

Together, these companies have announced job cuts totalling more than 1,35,000 in their operations across the world, but the impact on India is estimated to be for less than 1,000 employees.

Individually, home appliance maker Whirlpool last week said it plans to reduce its workforce by more than 5,000 people in North America as part of its efforts to save annually $400 million by the end of 2013.

Consumer electronics giant Royal Philips Electronics, which has reported a slump in third quarter earnings as a result of loss at its TV division, has said it would cut 4,500 jobs globally as part of a cost saving programme.

Announcing the job cuts earlier this month, it did not rule out the possibility of this exercise affecting employees in India.

Philips, which employed about 1,20,582 people globally at the end of September including about 9,000 in India, said job cuts are part of a plan to save $1.1 billion.

Earlier in August, UK-based HSBC said it would trim its workforce by 30,000 people globally. Although, it had already cut 5,000 jobs following restructuring of operations in Latin America, the US, Britain, France and the Middle East and that it would cut another 25,000 between now and 2013.

However, the bank ruled out job cuts in India, saying the country is a strategic market and one of the key profit centres and that it is in fact finding it difficult to offset the high attrition rates.

Telecom giant Nokia has also announced plans for 3,500 job cuts worldwide, including 300 in India, by next year as part of its drastic restructuring efforts that includes shuttering the manufacturing facility in Romania.

These job cuts, announced last month, would be in addition to a restructuring plan unveiled in April that would affect as many as 7,000 jobs globally.

The embattled smart phone manufacturer - Research in Motion said in July that it would lay off 2,000 employees globally across all functions.

Drug maker Merck & Co, in July, announced plans to cut up to 13,000 jobs by the end of 2015, with up to 40 per cent of reductions scheduled to occur in the US. The company aims to save $1.3-1.5 billion annually from these layoffs.

Same month, networking technologies major Cisco disclosed plans to slash 6,500 jobs, about 9 per cent of its global workforce, as part of an operational revamp to boost profits.

The workforce reduction is a part of Cisco's strategic goal to bring down annual operating expenses by $1 billion.

In August, Swiss banking major Credit Suisse announced plans to axe about 3,500 jobs worldwide. The layoff was in addition to 2,000 job cut announced in the previous month, as part of its aggressive cost-cutting measures.

British mortgage lender Lloyds Banking Group Plc in June said it plans to trim 15,000 jobs at the middle-level as a part of its efforts to save $2.4 billion annually by 2014.

There were also reports last month that Bank of America would cut between 30,000 and 40,000 jobs and slash annual expenses by $5 billion. Another banking firm Barclays Plc is also reportedly eliminating about 3,000 jobs this year. The UK-based bank has already cut 1,400 positions in 2011.

Early this year, aircraft manufacturing major Boeing also said that it would cut 1,100 jobs.