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The Barclays workforce could be reduced by up to a quarter in the next two years, as the bank plans to speed up its cost-saving strategy by slashing thousands of jobs, a report has claimed.

Up to 30,000 posts are expected to go by 2017, according to The Times, which could see the bank’s global workforce fall from 132,000 to below 100,000 in the next two years.

However, a source close to the bank told People Management that the “job reduction plan” is much smaller than reported.

As part of the bank’s current cost-cutting programme, 14,000 posts were slashed in 2014 and a further 5,000 are expected to go by 2016; a strategy the bank “will continue to work towards,” the source said.

The report in The Times comes just weeks after chief executive Antony Jenkins was ousted after three years in post.

Bank chairman John McFarlane – whose ‘tough-guy’ reputation has earned him the nickname “Mack the Knife” – did not rule out further branch closures and job losses when he was drafted in as interim chief executive, while the search for Jenkins’ replacement gets underway.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “Barclays is not efficient, we are not productive, we are cumbersome.”

“Inevitably over the medium term banks are going to have [fewer] branches than they have now because people are just not using them to the extent they used to. They are exponentially using other means,” he added.

Citing senior bank sources, The Times suggests “the radical redundancy programme” was thought to be the only way to address the organisation’s underperformance in recent years, and hit an ambitious target of doubling Barclays’ share price.

In May this year, Barclays was handed the biggest UK bank fine in history when the Financial Conduct Authority ordered it to pay £284.4m, as part of the bank’s £1.5bn settlement with the FCA and four US regulators, for manipulating the foreign exchange markets.

Middle and back office employees are likely to feel the brunt of the job losses, where the largest cost savings could be achieved, The Times reported.

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