Telkom is one of South Africa’s most well-known companies, having dominated the fixed-line telecoms market in the country for years.
At the height of its fixed-line empire, Telkom had well over 5 million fixed-line subscribers.
This fixed-line network was used to launch its ADSL services across South Africa. The company also launched cellular services, which in 2018 offer consumers mobile data and fixed-LTE solutions.
Along the way, however, competition started to emerge in the local market, with Vodacom, MTN, and Neotel (now called Liquid Telecom) providing alternatives to South Africans.
This increase in competition combined with advancements in telecommunications technology were two factors which put pressure on Telkom’s staff complement. The need to keep profits and the company’s share price up were additional factors.
This resulted in several rounds of job cuts and voluntary retrenchment packages being offered to staff.
In 1991, Telkom had just over 67,000 employees – making it a huge employer in the country.
This number declined over the next three years to just over 60,000 employees in 1994 and then started to drop more aggressively up to 2000, when it counted 49,000 employees in its ranks.
The sharp drop in employee numbers continued over the next 10 years, and in 2010 Telkom had 23,247 staff members.
As fibre competitors started to emerge from 2014 onwards and more people moved away from copper lines, more staff cuts took place.
As of March 2018, Telkom had 10,143 employees.
Employees from 1991 – 2018
It must be noted that the employee numbers referenced in this article are for the Telkom company. As of March 2018, this included Telkom’s Consumer, Openserve, and Corporate Centre divisions.
They do not include BCX, Yellow Pages, and Gyro employees.
The graphic below shows the decline in the number of Telkom company employees from 1991 to 2018. Click to enlarge the image.