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Telecom industry downsizes further in 2022

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  • April 2023
  • Region: Global
  • MTN Consulting, LLC
  • ID: 5781843

Telco sector’s total headcount ends 2022 at 4.57 million, 8% below 2019; 1Q23 earnings point to continued workforce reductions

This brief report addresses workforce trends in the telecom industry, with a focus on the telecom network operator (telco) sector. It presents data on telco sector employees over time, company-level trends, and the outlook for the future. At year-end 2022, telcos employed 4.57 million worldwide, down 2.1% YoY and down 7.9% from the pre-COVID level of 4.96 million recorded in 4Q19. Telcos reporting headcount growth are generally pushing into new markets, have ramped up sales staff to pursue short-term opportunities or have acquired another entity recently.

Examples in 2022 include Telus (headcount up 17.7K in 2022), Charter Communications (headcount up 8K in 2022), and NTT (headcount up 5.9K YoY in 2022). By contrast, telcos with headcount declines are simply doing what comes naturally: implementing technology and process innovations to allow them to do more with less, and profit despite limited topline growth opportunities. The analyst expects the telecom industry to continue to downsize on the operator side, aiming towards approximately 4.1 million employees by 2027.

Table of Contents

  • Summary 
  • Telcos aim to do more with less even as they seek out new revenue streams 
  • Labor costs 
  • Outlook for the telco workforce
  • Appendix

Companies Mentioned

  • Airtel
  • Altice USA
  • America Movil
  • AT&T
  • BCE
  • BSNL
  • BT
  • CenturyLink (Lumen)
  • Charter Communications
  • China Mobile
  • China Unicom
  • Cogeco
  • Comcast
  • Grupo Televisa
  • Iliad SA
  • KDDI
  • LG Uplus
  • Megafon
  • MTNL
  • NTT
  • Oi
  • PCCW
  • Rakuten
  • Reliance Jio
  • SK Telecom
  • TDS
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefonica
  • Telenor
  • Telstra
  • Telus
  • TPG Telecom
  • Turk Telekom
  • Veon
  • Verizon