The World Bank said late Thursday that it plans to reduce its employee count by 500 people over the next three years in an effort to restructure its operations. The move, which had reportedly been anticipated for a long time, sparked off protests among the bank’s staff.
The job cut represents nearly 11 percent of the total 4,500 employees of the bank's internal-facing divisions, including finance, human resources, research and security, which employ about a quarter of the bank’s total staff, Reuters reported. The World Bank also plans to cancel hiring for 70 positions at its office in the city of Chennai, India. However, the bank reportedly said that staff will be able to apply for jobs in other World Bank divisions and that the net result of the reorganization would be a loss of 250 positions.
"Staffing decisions are always challenging," Jim Yong Kim, the bank's president, said in a note to employees, according to Reuters, adding: "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."
The move included budget cuts worth $400 million so that the bank can lend more to middle-income countries. However, current employees reportedly claimed that the organization is focused more on cutting minor allowances for breakfast and parking instead of improving lending norms.
At the same time, Bertrand Badre, the bank's chief financial officer, who led most of the cost-cutting measures, received a bonus of $94,000 this year, Reuters reported, adding that protests from employees over this windfall prompted him to offer to forego about $24,000 of the bonus, which is yet to be received by him.
Further details of the budget cuts and layoffs are expected to be announced next week.