Workers from Standard Life Aberdeen – which was created from the merger of Aberdeen Investment and Standard Life two years ago, were summoned into a meeting this afternoon and told that IT services would be outsourced to US-headquartered IT services company Cognizent, which has a large number of employees based in India.
The vast majority of the department’s 370 staff – some contractors and others permanent staff – will lose their jobs by the end of the year. Staff were told that around 25 people will be retained in their current roles, while a further 25 were told they could be moved over to work for Cognizent.
Most of the IT department is based in Edinburgh, while a minority of those affected work in Aberdeen and London.
The company said that the cuts were part of a planned three-year transformation as part of the 2017 merger. It announced that the tie up would result in 800 job losses – around ten per cent of the workforce.
One worker, who did not want to be named, said: “During the day, everyone was called into a meeting, we were told to drop everything and go. I thought it was just the contractors who were affected, but it was the permanent staff too. I finish on 12 December.
“No-one saw it coming. When we heard about the meeting, we thought it would be about management teams, something like that. Everyone is just deflated, no-one thought this would happen.”
He added: “They think it is cheaper in the short term, but they’re not thinking long term.”
A spokesman for Standard Life Aberdeen said: “This was part of the three-year merger process set out in 2017. Hopefully a significant number of full-time employees will be able to transfer to Cognizent and this will improve our technology infrastructure and most importantly, improve the service to our customers.”
The company refused to confirm exact numbers of job cuts.
Last week, it was announced that vice chairman Martin Gilbert is to step down from Standard Life Aberdeen after almost four decades with the financial giant and one of the two businesses that formed it, Aberdeen Asset Management.