World Bank leaders planning staff cuts

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim speaks to staff during his first day as the bank's new chief. As part of Kim's reform efforts, the bank will reduce workforce at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo by: Ryan Rayburn / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

World Bank leaders are gearing up for a daunting task: cutting the number of staff especially at the multilateral institution’s cushy Washington headquarters without prompting popular dissent.

Rumors have been flying about impending job cuts since last fall, when senior management announced the goal of slashing $400 million from the bank’s operating budget as a part of President Jim Kim’s ambitious reform plans. But until recently, they were just that — rumors.

Since March, all new hires must be approved at vice president level and external candidates require confirmation by the chief financial officer and chief operating officer, two of the most senior posts at the Washington, D.C.-based institution — not just by managers in the different units as was the norm until then — a move meant to rein in hiring, as Devex reported at the time.

Last week, agency leaders informed staff that further savings would result from changes to corporate procurement and the engagement of external consultants as well as a reduction of the bank’s “footprint” in Washington.

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About the author

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    Paul Stephens

    Paul Stephens is a Devex staff writer based in Washington, D.C. His coverage focuses on Latin America and World Bank affairs, as well as Washington's global development scene. As a multimedia journalist, editor and producer, Paul has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Washington Monthly, CBS Evening News, GlobalPost and the United Nations magazine, among other outlets. He's won a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting for a 5-month, in-depth reporting project in Yemen after two stints in Georgia - one as a Peace Corps volunteer and another as a communications coordinator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.