Spark looking at using AI to deliver for customers - what it means for jobs

  • 14/03/2024
Spark says rising costs are "not sustainable".
Spark says rising costs are "not sustainable". Photo credit: Getty

Artificial intelligence may be used to replace some jobs at Spark, as the telecommunications company looks to how it'll operate in the future.

A Spark spokesperson told Newshub that in the first half of its financial year results at the end of March the company shared changes to its operating model "to align it to our new strategy and improve efficiency".

"Over the first six months of our financial year our labour costs have increased, and in the context of a tough operating environment with ongoing cost inflation, this is not sustainable," the spokesperson said. 

"Changes to our operating model will look different in different parts of the business – in some areas we will need to invest for growth and in other areas we will look at how we can be more efficient by removing duplication, working differently, or leveraging new technologies like AI."

When questioned about how many, if any, job losses there would be as a result, Spark said it wouldn’t release further details.

"Whenever we propose changes within our business, we consult with our people first and ensure we provide them the support they need to manage any resulting transitions," the spokesperson said.

In its 2023 annual report, Spark reported 5432 New Zealand employees. 

The report also outlines how the company intends to use AI to "personalise customer interactions".

"We have been developing our data capability for a number of years now and through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning we are now able to better predict the needs of our customers and deliver them the right product or service at the right time.

"Market-leading data and AI capability, combined with simplified portfolio, delivered 17 percent annual improvement in conversion and nine percent efficiency gains."