The National Australian Bank has announced the first round of job cuts as it looks to ‘reshape’ and ‘digitise’ its workforce over the next three years.
NAB staff were informed by chief people officer Lorraine Murphy yesterday that “the next phase in transforming our business is underway, as part of a three-year process".
In November 2017, InvestorDaily reported on the major bank’s plans to cut 6,000 jobs and create 2,000 new digital-focused jobs by 2020.
A NAB spokesperson told InvestorDaily approximately 1,000 jobs will be cut every six months for the next three years.
InvestorDaily understands the exact number of job losses in the first half of 2018 will depend on the number of voluntary redundancies and redeployments into digital-focused roles.
“The proposed new structure will reduce the layers and complexity in the bank so that we can be simpler, make decisions faster and be even closer to our customers,” the bank said in a statement.
Ms Murphy said there was “no doubt” this transition was right for the bank business.
“We will acknowledge the contribution that people who are leaving us have made. We will show through our actions that we care,” said Ms Murphy.
Staff that leave the bank will have “world-class support” through the bank’s career transition program titled ‘The Bridge’, which will offer employees made redundant with six months of support and resources.
“We said we would provide the utmost care and respect for all of our people. This remains our priority,” Ms Murphy said.
“I encourage you to ensure that all of our people understand the changes and are supported, and that those who remain with us can deliver the type of bank we have promised our customers – a simpler, faster bank.”
InvestorDaily also reported on comments made by NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn, who signalled the number of bricks-and-mortar branches was declining.
“What’s happening is that more and more customers are using their mobile device and online banking, and some branches are being used less and less and less,” Mr Thorburn said in November.
“And as that happens, like any business, we need to adjust.”
However, in a statement, the Finance Sector Union (FSU) expressed concerns that the job cutting "does not meet community expectations", pointing out that with the royal commission underway, Australian banks are being watched closely and NAB should take this responsibility to "rebuild its brand".
“This is not just 6,000 workers that will lose their jobs – it’s 6,000 people that will have to go home and tell their families they no longer have work," said FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano.
Many of the workers whose jobs would be axed or made redundant will have been at the bank for years and were a driving force behind NAB's profits, Ms Angrisano pointed out.
“It’s not like NAB is in trouble – they can afford to retrain their workers. They made $6.7 billion dollar profit last year,” she said.
“Post retrenchment support is too little too late, workers need to be re-skilled to move into the jobs of the future now.”
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