Dyson to cut more than a quarter of UK workforce

<span>Dyson’s site in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. The company’s biggest market is Asia, where it competes against local rivals.</span><span>Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty</span>
Dyson’s site in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. The company’s biggest market is Asia, where it competes against local rivals.Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty

The vacuum cleaner and air-filter maker Dyson is cutting about 1,000 jobs in the UK as part of a global restructure, reducing its British workforce by more than a quarter.

Staff were told on Tuesday morning about the cuts as part of moves to reduce the business’s 15,000-strong workforce around the world amid a wider cost-cutting drive.

Dyson, which is known for its bagless vacuum cleaner as well as hand-dryers and bladeless fans, has 3,500 UK employees, with sites in Wiltshire, Bristol and London. The review that led to the decision began some time before the general election was announced in May.

Related: Dyson to ‘cut 1,000 jobs’ as quarter of UK workforce goes in global cost reduction – business live

Hanno Kirner , the chief executive, said: “We have grown quickly and, like all companies, we review our global structures from time to time to ensure we are prepared for the future. As such, we are proposing changes to our organisation, which may result in redundancies.

“Dyson operates in increasingly fierce and competitive global markets, in which the pace of innovation and change is only accelerating. We know we always need to be entrepreneurial and agile.”

He said cutting jobs was “always incredibly painful” and promised the company would support those affected.

Dyson was founded by the inventor Sir James Dyson in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, in 1991. While it makes most of its products overseas, it does most of its research, development and design of products in the UK, and the country will remain a major R&D hub for the company.

Malmesbury will continue to be home to the Dyson Institute, where 160 undergraduate engineers work on Dyson projects three days a week, and study for two.

In Asia, Dyson’s biggest market, Dyson competes against local rivals that often come up with similar products shortly after its own appliances are launched. When the company’s pro-Brexit founder moved the group’s corporate headquarters to Singapore in 2019, he pointed to the growing importance of supply chains and customers in Asia.

Since it was founded more than three decades ago, Dyson has grown from making vacuum cleaners to hairdryers, fans and air filters. It was working on an electric vehicle until the project was abandoned in 2019.

It unveiled its first wearable product two years ago: air-purifying Bluetooth headphones with a visor. It also moved into the robotics industry, and hopes to roll out machines capable of doing household chores such as washing-up by 2030.

That year, the company paid a £1.2bn dividend to the Singapore-based holding company of its founder. The dividend was paid to the parent company, Weybourne Holdings, which also owns the multibillionaire’s family office, Weybourne Group, and UK investments in land and insurance. The dividend was up from £1bn in 2021, and took the total extracted by Dyson from his technology company to £4bn over the past five years.

Dyson is one of Britain’s richest businesspeople and his fortune was estimated in May to be £20.8bn, according to the Sunday Times.

In December, he lost a libel claim against the publisher of the Daily Mirror after a columnist at the newspaper suggested that he had been a hypocrite because he had “championed Vote Leave … before moving his global head office to Singapore”.

Dyson was increasingly critical of the former Conservative government during its final year, claiming in May that Rishi Sunak’s pledge to turn the UK into a science and technology superpower was a “mere political slogan”.