Evening Standard to cut 33% of workforce

Restructure is result of 'difficult market conditions' that have been 'further accentuated by Covid-19'.

Evening Standard: will focus on digital and mobile proposition (Getty Images)
Evening Standard: will focus on digital and mobile proposition (Getty Images)

The Evening Standard is to cut 33% of its 341-strong workforce, with 31 commercial jobs set to be dropped.

The Guardian reports that there will be 69 editorial cuts and 15 in distribution.

A spokesperson for the Evening Standard did not comment on the number of the losses reported by The Guardian, but explained that the restructure is because of the "difficult market conditions" in the media industry that have been "further accentuated by Covid-19".

The restructure will see the Evening Standard putting a greater emphasis on building its digital and mobile capabilities, as well as live events. There are no plans to drop the print edition.

Charles Yardley, who took over as chief executive in June, said: "The proposed restructuring at the Evening Standard comes at a challenging time for the industry, which has been accentuated by the pandemic.

"However, there remains a huge opportunity for the company, moving from London's leading newspaper to London's leading media platform, delivering the best content and services to our readers and our customers across multiple channels, whilst also launching new products and experiences."

Before the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, the Evening Standard dropped its print run by 10% to 750,000 copies and changed its distribution to focus on zone three and beyond as Londoners began to work from home.

The following week, the news brand said it would begin to deliver hundreds of thousands of copies to people's homes and reduced its print run to 500,000.

In April, the Evening Standard introduced a 20% pay cut for some staff and furloughed a number of employees. It also temporarily stopped printing its weekly magazine ES until September.

John Paton, chairman of the Evening Standard, said: "The Evening Standard has served London for nearly two centuries and is accustomed to evolving with our great city and Londoners.

"This is the next phase of the company's evolution and, as we develop new channels and services, the focus will remain on delivering quality journalism, informing and engaging our readers and with our digital offerings bringing the best of London to the world."

Print ad revenue has plunged because of the double whammy of the economic downturn and a slump in commuters.

In a sign of how the wider news industry has been hit, DMGT, owner of the Daily Mail and Metro, reported a 69% fall in print ad sales between April and June.
Emily Sheffield, former deputy editor of Vogue, became editor of the Evening Standard in July, replacing George Osborne, who moved to the role of editor-in-chief, and she has promised to increase the free title's online output.