"Executives estimate that eventually AT&T could get by with one-third fewer workers," and, "senior executives say shrinking the work force by 30 percent is not out of the question." Quentin Hardy buried those quotes in a New York Times article. 30% of AT&T's 280,000 employees is over 80,000. My guess is that 50,000-60,000 is more likely, but I believe even 50,000 would be the largest cutback since Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. I hope this story will prove inaccurate but the sources are solid. In addition, moves like this may be necessary for AT&T to increase profits.
Randall and his team have often seen trends before the rest of us. They are now cutting back to prop up earnings for a few years and get the stock price up. The analytic question is why and how. I have some of that below but I'd welcome opinions.
This is one of the biggest telecom stories of the decade and no one picked it up. When I mentioned it in an article, I got a disbelieving email from a senior executive at AT&T. The New York Times could have made a mistake, but Hardy is a veteran reporter who had more than one source.
CEO Randall Stephenson in the same article preached the importance for AT&T workers to "Learn new skills or find your career choices are very limited."