Job losses in the telecom sector could increase double-fold this year as the ongoing mergers and acquisitions in the telecom industry mean more layoffs and fewer operators in the field. There has been a steady decline in the number of telecom players in the industry, resulting in massive job losses in the sector over the last 12-18 months, reports The Sunday Express. On an average there are only six operators in a telecom circle, a sharp decline from 10 operators on average some two years ago. According to a report by CIEL HR, around 80,000-90,000 jobs could be lost over the first two to three quarters as compared to 40,000 jobs lost in 2017.
The ongoing talks between telecom giants Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which is expected to create India’s largest phone company may see job cuts up to 5,000 if the deal is successful. Similarly, employees of Telenor India and Tata Teleservices can face job losses as Bharti Airtel is in the process of acquiring them. As soon as bigger companies begin acquisition process, employees of the smaller firms start looking for jobs. Junior or entry-level employees have the option of learning new trades and they move out of the sector while the job-cuts tend to impact middle management, a senior executive told The Sunday Express.
A spokesperson for Vodafone India rubbished reports of job cuts, saying it was pure “speculation” and “untrue.” The spokesperson added that no final merger approval has been received by the company and the workforce will benefit from the merger. However, Mahesh Uppal, director of telecom consultancy firm ComFirst believes that job cuts by telecom firms are unavoidable with rising demands, high capital expenses, and low incremental costs. The industry is under lot of pressure and jobs will be shed when companies merge, added Uppal.
An employee familiar with the Vodafone-Idea merger said the workforce cost was only five per cent of the operational cost and both the companies were hiring people for the last 12-15 months. The employee though admitted that there will be job-cuts he stressed that with options such retraining and redeployment for the overlapping role, number of job losses will be marginal.