World Bank to cut 500 jobs in some units as part of revamp

Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:01pm EDT
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By Anna Yukhananov

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank said it plans to cut 500 jobs over the next three years as part of a broad restructuring meant to make it more efficient but that has rattled employees.

The long-expected layoffs, along with budget cuts and internal reorganization, have sparked regular staff protests and fears of a broader revolt at a time when the bank is trying to ramp up its work in fighting the Ebola outbreak and other global challenges, and maintain its relevance.

The cuts, announced on Thursday, represent about an 11 percent reduction in the 4,500-employee workforce of the bank's internal-facing divisions, including finance, human resources, research and security. These divisions employ about a quarter of the bank's total staff.

The bank also plans to cancel 70 vacant job openings, though it wants to hire 250 to 300 new people, largely in its Chennai, India office, which runs some of its administrative and other operations.

Some of the 500 employees whose jobs will be cut will also be able to apply for jobs in other World Bank divisions, said the bank, which provides financial and technical assistance to developing countries.

The net result will be a loss of about 250 positions, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a note to staff on Thursday.

"Staffing decisions are always challenging," Kim said in the note, which was obtained by Reuters. "But we feel confident that the changes we are making will help us better align our staffing to our strategy, which is what our clients want and what we must deliver."

Kim launched the first major reorganization for the lender since 1996, to make it more selective and better attuned to the needs of the governments it serves.   Continued...

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim speaks on a panel titled "Building Shared Prosperity in an Unequal World" during the IMF-World Bank annual meetings in Washington October 8, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst