Britain’s top four banks are expected to eliminate 189,000 jobs by the end of 2013 from their 2008 peak.
According to Bloomberg report, the biggest four banks in the U.K., Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (NYSE:RBS) (LON:RBS), HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA), Lloyds Banking Group PLC (NYSE:LYG) (LON:LLOY) and Barclays Plc. (BARC) are expected to employ about 660,000 people across the globe by the end of this year, as against 795,000 in 2008, a substantial drop of 24 percent.
The job numbers represent the least employed by the U.K. banks since 2004, when they employed 594,000 worldwide. According to the Bloomberg report, more job cuts are expected in the future.
Banks have been under increasing pressure to cut costs, but in the five years since the top of the employment cycle, total staff costs including salaries, bonuses and pension provisions have fallen by just 1 percent to around £37 billion. Over the same period, the four banks’ combined revenues have dropped by 13 percent to £108 billion.
It is thus evident costs as a proportion of revenue galloped during the past four years.
Banks have to confront several challenges such as decline in economic climate, non-commensurate income growth from investment banking, meeting profit target through reduction in staff count.
The reduction in staff strength is accentuated by banks’ decision to sell off some of their assets. Lloyds Bank indicated that it plans to conform to capital adequacy requirement by disposing divesting non-core assets.
Bloomberg notes assets held by the top four banks in their balance sheets showed a substantial reduction of £1.7 trillion since 2008.
For instance, HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) closed down 52 businesses since 2011 contributing $4 billion reduction in expenses. HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE:HBC) (LON:HSBA) indicated earlier this month to further reduce its staff strength over the next three years by eliminating 14,000 jobs contributing $3 billion cost savings.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (NYSE:RBS) (LON:RBS) slashed 78,000 jobs since 2008, with aim to prop up its earnings. This would facilitate government to reduce its 81 percent stake held with RBS.
Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) aims to save £1.7 billion annually by eliminating 3,700 jobs during 2013. Barclays PLC (NYSE:BCS) (LON:BARC) CEO Antony Jenkins indicated to the bank’s investors that it may cut its workforce by almost a third over the next decade. The bank estimates automation and online banking would facilitate reduction in staff count.
Lloyds Banking Group PLC (NYSE:LYG) (LON:LLOY) has cut about 31,000 jobs since 2008 and announced that it might cut a further 2,340 during this year.
Interestingly, the London-based Standard Chartered PLC (LON:STAN) (LON:STAC) has bucked the trend by employing over 560 employees during the first quarter, with a further intake of 2,000 planned this year. Standard Chartered PLC (LON:STAN) (LON:STAC) derives most of its profit from Asia and doubled its staff count from 33,000 in 2004 to 89,000 in 2012.