Cambridge University Press (CUP) is cutting 45 editorial and production jobs out of its English Language Teaching (ELT) division in Cambridge, relocating the roles to "other Press publishing centres outside the UK".
CUP is currently in consultation with affected staff about the "movement of roles" from its Cambridge headquarters. The Press is proposing to relocate roles to its "key markets" around the world, as a response to "the global shift to digital-based learning products".
A spokesperson for CUP said it is unlikely that colleagues will choose to be redeployed globally, and it is anticipated the new roles will be filled by new hires.
CUP employs slightly over 700 people globally in its ELT division, but it declined to reveal the total number of ELT staff currently based in Cambridge.
Changing ELT markets are down to "new digital learning technologies, developing trends among teachers and students, and shifts in the global economy," the publisher said. Cambridge will remain its "centre", although global staffing levels within the ELT group are "likely to increase". CUP has 50 offices around the world and, in 2014, in excess of its 90% of sales originated from outside of the UK.
In a memo to staff, seen by The Bookseller, CUP said its ELT business was currently operating only at a break-even level, impacted by a slowdown in sales in the last year and big movements in foreign exchange, limiting its ability to reinvest at a key time of change for its customers.
In its public statement on the changes, Peter Phillips, chief executive at CUP, commented: "The publishing industry is going through its biggest change in 500 years. Cambridge’s English Language Teaching group is responding by increasing our investment in digital products, focusing our people and products in our key markets and streamlining how we do things. Overall our global staffing in this area is likely to increase and Cambridge remains our centre and a crucial location for our partnerships across our University. I deeply regret losing any jobs across the Press, but we are committed to being a truly global digital publisher and these changes will result in significant new investment which will ensure that we will be able to support English language learners even better in the future."
Michael Peluse, m.d. of ELT at CUP, added: "Last year we saw a 90% rise in digital and blended English language learning sales and the changes we are announcing today will allow us to serve customers better in our key markets.
"There are more than two billion English language students around the world who could benefit from more digital and blended products and the changes we are announcing today will help us to serve customers better in creating great products for learners around the world."
The move at CUP follows similar shifts elsewhere. Pearson cut ELT jobs from the UK and US and replaced them with roles in other countries in 2013 when it decided to “refocus” to better support “new ways of learning” in the UK and abroad.