HSBC has announced to staff that it will shed 3,166 jobs in the UK. This follows hard on the heels of 2,200 job cuts in 2012, and brings the total number of job cuts around the world (in the last two years) to 34,500.
It hopes to be able to move 2,000 of the employees elsewhere in the business, but it leaves over 1,000 staff high and dry.
Why?Most of the jobs will be lost in the company's wealth-management division, as advisers gradually move over to the consumer banking division. The head of the HSBC Bank, Brian Robertson, said in a statement that affected employees would be offered new roles where possible. He added: "I understand change is always unsettling, particularly for those directly affected."
The bank insisted that the cuts were required as a result of changes in legislation, and to reflect the changing needs of customers. Robertson said: "I firmly believe what we are proposing is essential in order for us to fulfil our customers' expectations. With the banking behaviour of our customers continually evolving we must change our business to meet their needs."
Hit hardThe Unite union, warned that the loss of jobs for those without financial qualifications means that although they will be able to apply for jobs elsewhere in the business, many will not have the relevant qualifications - or will be in the wrong part of the country to make this a logical move.
The Union added that this round of jobs cuts came soon after the bank announced it would close its remaining final salary scheme, and reduce holiday entitlement and sick pay. It insisted that instead of being a change around the needs of customers, it was a grab for profits.
Unite national officer Dominic Hook said: "HSBC is making staff suffer in the search for ever greater profits. The bank's behaviour is a disgrace. After making proposals to slash pensions, holidays and sick pay the bank is now slashing even more jobs. Staff are at the end of their tether and we will be asking them in due course if they are prepared to take part in a strike ballot to oppose this unprecedented attack by this very profitable bank."
CustomersFor consumers, the results will be mixed: clearly having fewer advisers for small and medium-sized businesses will leave a gap. However, it's worth bearing in mind that this is a change to what has in many respects been a salesforce - incentivised with sales targets - tasked with selling products. The idea is to evolve into a group of qualified individuals who are able to offer real advice.
This move is something that commentators have been calling for for years: whether they released that such major job losses would be part of the process is another matter entirely.