Telstra’s Sensis sacks 648 staff


blog It seems like we’re always hearing about redundancies at Telstra’s directories and digital division Sensis. Last week it was half the division’s staff, this week the number has firmed at 648, according to an official Telstra media release issued this morning. Apparently the restructure is aimed at “digital growth”. Right. The text:

February 21, 2013 Sensis, Australia’s leading provider of directory and digital marketing services, for small-medium business, today unveiled proposed changes to its operations and business model to accelerate its transition to a digital media business.

Managing Director, John Allan, said the proposals, now the subject of consultation with staff and unions, were the next phase of an ongoing program to move Sensis from its traditional print-based business model to one better designed for the growing digital market.

Mr Allan said the proposed restructure will include the establishment of a new digital Customer Management Centre with 50 new roles, but is likely to result in an overall reduction of approximately 648 positions nationally. Those positions are expected to include around 391 back of house fulfilment and customer care roles which will be outsourced. Sensis currently employs approximately 3500 staff.

“Until now we have been operating with an outdated print-based model – this is no longer sustainable for us. As we have made clear in the past, we will continue to produce Yellow and White Pages books to meet the needs of customers and advertisers who rely on the printed directories, but our future is online and mobile where the vast majority of search and directory business takes place,” Mr Allan said.

“Already, more than 60% of our customers now are advertising online and in mobile apps, while our White and Yellow Pages digital services received 18.4m visits in January 2013.

“We need to simplify our operation and invest in areas that make us more efficient, and meet our customers’ growing demand for online and mobile services.

“Sensis needs to change in order to compete effectively, to deliver what our customers want and to achieve our ambition of being Australia’s leading provider of digital marketing services.

“While these decisions are never easy, they are designed to position the company for future digital growth,” Mr Allan said.

Key changes under the proposed restructure include: Establishment of a new digital Customer Management Centre; Improved IT capabilities to strengthen digital innovation and delivery capabilities Improved marketing and go-to-market processes, with reduced duplication; Restructuring the Yellow Pages sales operating model; Outsourcing certain back office functions to deliver around the clock support for the White and Yellow Pages customer care and fulfilment capabilities; Reduced duplication of senior and middle management roles.

“These changes will fundamentally change the Sensis business and position it for success in the long term. Right now that means making some tough decisions and I’m acutely aware of the impact on our people.

“Not one of these decisions has been taken lightly and we are working with our staff and the unions to provide further detail of our proposed digital transition to ensure the best support for those affected by the resulting changes.” Mr Allan said.

Image credit: Telstra


  1. I don’t know why I even get a phone directory I don’t want it the purpose it once had is gone.

    Yellow Pages online sucks as well it is far easier and faster to use Google for broad searches and something like Urban spoon for more niche things.

  2. Can honestly say I’m one of those people that use the yellow pages to prop up monitors, hold doors open every year, and each year throw it out thinking: why?

    They’re behind the 8 ball online, good luck to them.

  3. A very similar story to Yellow Pages in the UK. Reliance on paper directories. Outdated business model. Didn’t keep up with the new competition from digital peer-review sites such as Yelp. Big losses. big job losses.

    • Yelp and Sensis actually partnered in Australia –
      Both get advantages from the deal; Yelp was able to begin with it’s database populated from Sensis. Sensis can display Yelp data (reviews, ratings, etc) across their apps and websites.
      They also share data additions and corrections; a correction or venue added on Yelp will be submitted to Sensis, and vice versa. This lets them take advantage of those who are quite active on Yelp suggesting corrections and keeping everything correct and up to date. And of course; this is the same data that appears in Apple Maps/Siri, among others etc.

      • Yelp is beyond useless in this country keeping up with them here would be like chasing a turtle.

  4. I’m completely stunned to find out they employ 3500 people when every service they have is easily replaceable with google (including all their digital ones). If they are not losing money hand over fist, they will be soon.

  5. Well as a previous employee of Sensis, it doesn’t surprise me to see job loses. Seriously there are people who did nothing but chat all day and go shopping. Sensis is a bureaucratic mess. The cost to do any IT projects there is sky high because they have so many layers of paper pushers. Move on Sensis people…

  6. Thank God for Local Directories in the Northern Rivers! Lucky us, we get one price that includes all relevant mediums – print, online and phone!! No hidden white pages bills and the google search results are awesome – their site is fresh, modern easy to navigate. Certainly here in rural NSW there is a need for all mediums until we catch up with metropolitan areas. So good to have an alternative to Senseless (sic)!

  7. So what was Project Morph all about then? Wasn’t that supposed to position them for the digital revolution. They spent a mountain of money on that project and this is the result they’ve got.

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