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Exxon to cut 14,000 from global workforce after energy slump

[TEXAS]  Exxon Mobil will slash its global workforce by 15 per cent over the next two years, an unprecedented culling by North America’s biggest oil explorer as it struggles to preserve dividends.

The cuts will include 1,900 US jobs, mostly in Houston, as well as an undisclosed number of positions around the world.

“These actions will improve the company’s long-term cost competitiveness and ensure the company manages through the current unprecedented market conditions,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Exxon’s total reduction will affect about 14,000 people, split between employees and contractors, spokesman Casey Norton said by phone.

The figure includes the US job cuts, as well as layoffs and retirements previously announced in Europe and Australia, and future reductions in Canada and elsewhere.

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Exxon’s Big Oil rivals are also cutting thousands of jobs in response to the pandemic-induced demand slump. BP plans to slash 10,000 jobs, Royal Dutch Shell  will cut as many as 9,000 roles and Chevron  has announced around 6,000 reductions.

Exxon’s in-house workforce stood at 74,900 people, as of Dec 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

However, the fact that it’s cutting at all is a sign of its weakened financial position compared to its former status as the S&P 500 Index’s biggest company less than a decade ago and a profit powerhouse used to riding out oil-price cycles.

This year’s downturn has been particularly painful because it affected refining, usually a cushion in times of low oil prices, and because it came at a time when Exxon was already increasing borrowing to fund a large expansion programme.

The company was forced to retreat on these plans in April, reducing capital spending by US$10 billion and delaying or scaling back most of major projects. The stock has plunged 54 per cent this year. Its dividend yield is now more than 10 per cent, indicating that investors are anticipating a cut.

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