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Are You Next? Unilever to Axe 7,500 Jobs for AI

TL;DR

  • Unilever is laying off 7,500 employees and investing in AI to streamline operations and reduce costs.
  • The company aims to improve productivity and save money through this “growth action plan.”
  • This move reflects a wider trend of AI disrupting the job market, as seen in recent layoffs at Cisco and Google.

British consumer goods company Unilever is planning a major business overhaul that could see it replace a large number of its workforce with artificial intelligence.

Unilever to Lay Off Thousands Due to AI

The Standard reported Tuesday that Unilever, which has about 128,000 employees around the world, intends to dismiss 7,500 of its global employees over the next two years, with the company’s executives saying that AI would “play a role” in the layoffs.

The execs admitted that the planned jobs cull is part of the company’s “comprehensive” programme to invest in AI technology and IT solutions, with the goal of improving productivity and saving £684 million (or over $868 million) in the next three years.

“Under the growth action plan, we have committed to do fewer things better, and with greater impact,” said Hein Schumacher, the chief executive. “The changes we are announcing today will help us accelerate that plan.”

The firm didn’t specify what type of roles will be affected by the changes but said the roles will largely be office-based, spanning its head office and corporate centres.

“We are very aware how unsettling this will be for our people around the world,” Schumacher added. “We are committed to carrying out the process with respect and care for those impacted.”

AI is Driving More Layoffs Across Major Firms

As part of the overhaul, Unilever also intends to demerge its Ben & Jerry’s ice cream business, which reportedly recorded revenue of £6.8 billion (or over $8.6 billion) last year. The company plans to begin the demerger process immediately through a stock market listing and expects to complete it towards the end of 2025. 

It’s no longer a prediction. AI technology has already begun to disrupt the job market and drive massive layoffs across major companies as they look to cut operation costs and boost efficiency. Unilever only adds to the growing list. 

In February, the NYTimes reported that Cisco plans to slash its headcount by 5%, roughly 4,250 employees, to focus on AI technology and software development. Among several other companies, Google has also made a series of layoffs over the recent weeks, citing its focus on AI.

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Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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