From 200 to 350: Optus sacks more



news The nation’s number two telco Optus today confirmed the size of a redundancy round first revealed yesterday, with the company now planning to offload around 350 staff over the next few weeks instead of the expected 200 which was reported earlier.

In a statement issued today, the telco said it was undertaking a restructure of its corporate, consumer and business divisions in order to “create greater efficiencies and a more sustainable cost base across its operations”. “This announcement follows the transformation strategy put in place 18 months ago to reshape the business so we are set up to deliver sustainable long term profitable growth,” the company said.

Optus said it had already made progress on delivering its current business strategy through initiating a “differentiated brand” built around new products and services that eliminate bill shock and provide customers with greater certainty when they use data; delivering measurable improvements in customer advocacy measures including significant improvements in Net Promoter Score and a 14-year low in the number of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO); and improving its cost base by removing inefficiencies from the retail arm of its business, exiting third party sales channels and reducing subscriber acquisition costs.

”To continue executing against our plan, Optus must continually review its operations to ensure we remain sustainable and competitive in the years ahead,” the telco said. “As a result, we have re- organised our business to drive greater efficiencies and ensure we have the right structure in place to support our customers and business priorities.”

”These changes will see Optus centralise and consolidate roles across a number of corporate functions, improve the support we offer new customers and simplify processes for resolving customers’ problems. In Optus Business, we are making changes to refocus the structure towards ICT and Applications growth, the way we develop and manage products and how we support our enterprise customers.”

”The changes put in place this week will also result in some positions becoming redundant, the reorganisation of some teams and the creation of new teams and roles. As a result approximately 350 people will be leaving Optus over the next few weeks.”

A number of major media outlets had reported yesterday that Optus had been planning to retrench some 200 staff. The company currently has about 8,900 employees.

The news represents the third time in two years that the telco has been known to be engaged in redundancy rounds. In May 2012 Optus revealed plans to sack some 750 staff, in a company-wide restructure which it claimed was aimed at giving customers “a stronger voice”. And in March 2013 the telco also engaged in another redundancy round, with some 290 staff losing their positions.

Optus’ cost-cutting moves have had a significant impact on its financials. In mid-February this year, Optus reported what it said were “strong financial results” for the quarter ended 31 December 2013 (PDF). Net profit and EBITDA rose 41 percent and 9 percent respectively, despite a 5 percent decline in revenue.

Kevin Russell, Country Chief Officer, Australia (who has since resigned) said at the time: “As we have said before, our focus at Optus is on delivering sustainable profit growth and making significant improvements in the experience we deliver for our customers. This quarter has seen great progress in both these areas. Optus will continue to differentiate its brand with new products and services that address real customer pain points, strengthen trust in the brand and deliver a market leading experience for our customers.

At the time, Optus noted that it had continued to invest in its mobile network (both its 3G and 4G infrastructure) as well as improving the online and in-store experience it was delivering for customers.

The news also comes as other major telcos in Australia are also engaged in cutting staff. Yesterday national telecommunications company M2 revealed it had plans to make another 150 positions redundant, just five months after culling 100 staff from its operations.

Image credit: avlxyz, Creative Commons


  1. “You employees are the key to our economic success.”

    “Anytime we need a little stock-price boost, we just fire a bunch of you. It’s like printing money!”

    Dilbert, August 10th 1996.

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