Do the numbers actually add up?
I have to wonder how useful their headcount-reduction numbers are, especially if they're looking to recruit more front-line staff at the same time. Potentially, if they carry through with their plan to hire 9,500 front-liners, their headcount is only going to drop by around 3,500 in the next 3 years.
Though this is likely to be scant consolation for the people being shown the door - and I'm guessing the newcomers will have lower wages and fewer financial benefits, to boot!
Anyway, since I had some time waiting on a server rebuild, I did some poking around. An article on the BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8049276.stm) from 2009 states that their headcount was 162,000 in 2008; they'd lopped 15k from this in 2009 and were looking to drop another 15k in 2010.
However, according to BT's own annual reports[*], the employee headcount in 2009 was 110.6k and they actually /grew/ between 2007 and 2008.
In fact, it looks like BT's headcounts can be roughly divided into 5-year epochs:
1994: 156k employees
1995 - 2001: ~ 130k employees
2002 - 2007: ~ 105k employees
2008 - 2010: ~ 110k employees
2011 - 2016: ~ 90k employees
2017: 106k employees
I.e. they've had a couple of big bloodbaths in 1995, 2001 and 2011; the rest of the time, things are relatively stable - there's even the occasional uptick, presumably from acquisitions. E.g. in 2006, they picked up Plusnet, and in 2016, they picked up 12.8k employees from EE.
Though that said, the 2017 annual report indicates that the EE headcount had already dropped to 9.2k, so I'd guess ex-EE staff make for a relatively easy target for any beancounter looking to trim things down.
Equally, their 2017 annual report states that of their 106k employees, only 82,000 are in the UK. Given that the statement implies they're targeting UK staff, it'll be interesting[**] to see how well their processes handle a headcount reduction of ~15%, especially when they've been actively trimming headcount for the last 25 years; by now, they've long since stripped any fat and must be starting to catch the bone in places.
[*] Annoyingly unstandardised, but a bit of digging eventually cleared things up somewhat
[**] In the sense that a slow-motion car-crash is interesting, as long as you're not one of the people involved!