Nokia to transfer 3,000 employees to Accenture, to lay off 4,000

27 Apr 2011

Nokia will outsource its Symbian software activities to Accenture, transitioning 3,000 employees to the company. It will also reduce its workforce globally by 4,000 by the end of 2012.

Nokia, which has been facing stiff competition in the growing smartphone industry, is aiming to cut its Devices and Services unit’s non-IFRS operating expenses by €1bn by 2013.

While this strategic partnership will see 3,000 employees move to Accenture, Nokia will have to let go 4,000 employees by the end of 2012, with reductions seen in the UK, Finland and Denmark. Nokia has said discussions have started today with employee representatives.

All employees affected by these plans will remain on Nokia’s payroll through the end of 2011 and personnel reductions will occur in phases until the end of 2012.

“At Nokia, we have new clarity around our path forward, which is focused on our leadership across smart devices, mobile phones and future disruptions,” said Stephen Elop, Nokia president and CEO.

“However, with this new focus, we also will face reductions in our workforce. This is a difficult reality, and we are working closely with our employees and partners to identify long-term re-employment programs for the talented people of Nokia.”

Nokia is launching a social responsibility program in light of these layoffs for employees and affected communities.

“We’re offering those who are losing their jobs a range of options, from individual re-employment support and re-training to making investments to promote innovation and working with a variety of partners to create new opportunities,” Elop said.

Accenture deal

Accenture will provide Symbian-based software development and support services under this agreement with these transferred 3,000 employees, who will be join Accenture by the end of 2011. The agreement will be complete during summer 2011.

These employees are located in the UK, the US, China, Finland and India. While initially working for Nokia, these employees will be retrained by both companies and redeployed.

Accenture will also provide mobile software business and operational services around Windows Phone 7, which will become Nokia’s primary mobile operating system. Accenture will become a preferred partner for Nokia’s smartphone development activities and service provider.

“This collaboration demonstrates our ongoing commitment to enhance our Symbian offering and serve our smartphone customers,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice-president for Smart Devices, Nokia. 

“As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, this transition of skilled talent to Accenture shows our commitment to provide our Symbian employees with potential new career opportunities.”

The two companies have been working together since 1994 and in 2009, Accenture acquired Nokia’s professional services unit.

Laura O’Brien was a journalist with Silicon Republic