CareCredit Women's Health May 2024 Banner

Barclays’ 2023 Layoffs Reached 5,000 as Banks Cut Back

Barclays bank building

Barclays reportedly laid off about 5,000 workers in 2023 as part of a cost-cutting campaign.

A spokesperson for the British bank told Reuters Monday (Jan. 8) that most of those cuts happened in Barclays Execution Services, the company’s support unit.

“Barclays removed approximately 5,000 headcount globally through 2023 as part of its ongoing efficiency programme designed to simplify and reshape the business, improve service, and deliver higher returns,” the spokesperson said.

The bank also laid off about 3% of its American consumer banking business in October of 2023.

It was part of a wider trend in the banking sector last year, with the world’s largest lenders slashing more than 60,000 jobs in 2023.

Banks suffered from a downturn in dealmaking and public offerings, as well as the fallout of a banking crisis. When UBS took over Credit Suisse, there were suddenly 13,000 fewer roles at the combined bank, with another round of layoffs expected this year.

“There is no stability, no investment, no growth in most banks — and there are likely to be more job cuts,” Lee Thacker, owner of financial services headhunting company Silvermine Partners, told the Financial Times (FT) last month, adding, “There are some very nice gifts being sent to bosses at the moment.”

According to the FT’s calculations, 20 of the world’s biggest banks cut at least 61,905 jobs in 2023. It was one of the worst years for the sector since the 2007-2008 financial crisis, when banks eliminated 140,000 positions.

Beyond UBS, the second largest number of job cuts came from Wells Fargo, which reduced its headcount by 12,000. The severance costs from those layoffs is expected to reach $750 million to just shy of $1 billion for the banking giant’s fourth quarter, CEO Charlie Scharf has said.

News of the cuts at Barclays came the same day as reports highlighting the changing fortunes of the banking sector, with the FT warning that earnings from several big banks this week are likely to show an uptick in non-performing loans.

“Those loans — debt from borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent — are expected to have climbed to $24.4 billion for the four biggest U.S. banks,” PYMNTS wrote, “up by almost $6 billion since the end of 2022.”