Guardian plans to cut workforce by 12%

There will be 180 job losses.

The Guardian: ad campaign by Uncommon Creative Studio
The Guardian: ad campaign by Uncommon Creative Studio

Guardian Media Group is making plans to cut about 180 jobs – about 12% of total staff – across the business.

There will 110 job losses from advertising and marketing and 70 in editorial. The publisher said today (Wednesday) that the pandemic had "accelerated the existing structural pressures across the news media industry".

As such, GMG has put together three proposals: an emphasis on digital, to ensure the business continues to deliver "the most impactful journalism"; a focus on the "strong and growing relationship" with readers via an operating model that enables long-term sustainability; and reducing costs and repositioning the business for the future.

In its statutory results for the 12 months to 29 March, announced today, GMG said it achieved its primary financial goal, which is to keep net expenditure between £25m and £30m – the level that can be sustained by GMG's returns from the Scott Trust Endowment Fund, which subsidises its operations. 

Group revenue fell slightly by 0.4% to £223.5m from £224.5m in 2019. However, group digital revenue increased by 0.5% to £125.9m from £125.3m.

There was "good growth" in reader revenue (contributions and subscriptions), which was offset by a decline in ad revenue and an ongoing fall in sales on newsstands, "both of which were exacerbated in the final month of the year due to the effects of coronavirus".

GMG had a record 1.5 billion unique browsers and 16.4 billion page views across its digital platforms, both up 20% year on year. The Guardian also recorded more than one million supporters for the financial year, made up of more than 790,000 recurring monthly supporters and an additional 340,000 one-off contributions.

Annette Thomas, GMG's chief executive, said: "GMG is well-positioned for the future, after a second year of achieving its financial targets, with 56% digital revenues and over one million paying supporters of The Guardian and The Observer’s journalism. Readers now account for 58% of GMG’s total revenues.

"However, we live in a time of great economic uncertainty and there are many challenges ahead for the global news media sector. Today, we have announced measures to align our operating model with our forward strategy, reduce costs and focus on the long-term growth opportunity in our core business – impactful journalism and reader relationships – in order to promote a more sustainable future for The Guardian."

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