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City job cuts loom as Bakers puts 300-plus business staff under consultation in efficiency drive

Support roles in the City are under threat again as Baker McKenzie has launched a review of its entire London professional and business services (PBS) staff, estimated to include around 350 people.

Kicking off at the end of this month as part of the firm’s drive to improve profitability, the consultation will affect Bakers’ finance, business development, knowledge management, human resources, marketing and communications teams. A spokesperson for the firm said a decision had yet to be reached as to how many roles will be impacted.

A three-year global reorganisation of the firm’s services delivery will also include investment in tech and the creation of new roles in its low cost hubs in Manila and Belfast, as well as the launch of new services centres in North and South America.

Chief operating officer Jason Marty said that while the firm’s PBS function had grown organically over time, the firm now needed a more ‘modern and agile’ team.

He added that the firm’s priority was to become ‘a more efficient organisation with competitive and sustainable profitability’.

A spokesperson for the firm said: ‘We will be consulting as widely as possible in London with PBS teams and representatives will be elected for all teams in line with the UK legal and regulatory framework.’

Making Bakers more profitable is a long-stated aim of global chair Paul Rawlinson, while the firm has an unofficial goal to bring its profits per equity partner (PEP) to $2m. It made significant headway in that direction this year, hiking partner profits 13% to $1.44m amid 8% revenue growth to $2.9bn. But it still lags the Global 100 average PEP of $1.76m.

Bakers is the latest in a number of firms to put its City support staff under review amid increasing pressure to maximise efficiency. In July, Ashurst slashed 54 of its 100-strong secretarial team and Ince & Co announced 32 redundancies, including 25 business services staff and seven fee earners.

Hogan Lovells cut 54 of around 500 business services roles in June, moving most of them to low-cost hubs in Birmingham, Johannesburg and Louisville.

To learn more about Paul Rawlison’s strategy, see ‘Waking the giant’ (£)