Engineering giant Rolls-Royce is to cut 6% of its global workforce in a company-wide effort to streamline its internal support functions.

Centralised support functions will reduce duplication of human resources, financing and purchasing processes across the firm’s civil aerospace, defence aerospace, marine and energy business groups.


The move is part of a wider strategy of globalisation which, in addition to the cost reduction programme, includes the construction of two new aero engine facilities in the US and Singapore at a cost of $300m over the next five years.

Sir John Rose, Rolls-Royce chief executive, said the additional manufacturing plants “are further evidence of our success in aerospace markets and the continuing trend towards the globalisation of our operations”.

Rolls-Royce already has 45% of its research and technology, 40% of its employees and 50% of new programmes located outside the UK. The expansion of Rolls-Royce’s manufacturing operation outside its largest UK base is driven by increased workload and a strategy of internationalising operations for greater proximity to foreign markets, said head of communications, Martin Brodie.

The Singapore plant will focus on the Trent aero engine programme while the US facility will work on business jet engines. “We wanted greater proximity to our Asian customers and we have a very strong order book in Asia so it makes sense to increase our presence in Singapore,” said Mr Brodie, “and obviously the corporate and business jet market is largely based in the US so it’s logical to put the facility there”.

The US facility will also address the currency discrepancy, according to Mr Brodie, who said: “The aerospace industry is a business which is certainly sold in dollars so if you are building in pounds you tend to be at a disadvantage.”