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Barclays puts freeze on staff hiring until Jan in cost-cutting move

[NEW YORK] British bank Barclays Plc has put a freeze on hiring new staff until the start of next year as it steps up efforts to cut costs and raise profitability.

A Barclays spokesman said the hiring freeze had been in place since late September and is due to be reviewed at the start of January.

There are exceptions to the freeze, including to fill vacancies for UK branch staff and for some critical positions, as well as vacant positions in low cost locations, the spokesman said.

Many banks are taking an increasingly hard line on costs in an effort to improve profitability. Barclays is midway through a three-year plan to cut costs, which involves shedding 19,000 staff, or about 14 per cent of its global workforce. John McFarlane has increased the focus on costs after taking over as Barclays chairman in April. The bank's incoming Chief Executive Jes Staley, who starts in December, is also expected to try to find more cost savings.