Johnson & Johnson has announced another restructuring which could lead to the loss of over 8,000 jobs.

The healthcare giant says that it will reduce its global workforce of around 117,000 by 6%-7%. The job losses, which will be done “primarily by reducing layers of management”, will form part of a major restructuring that is designed to achieve pretax savings of $1.4-$1.7 billion by 2011. Some $800-$900 million of that figure should be reached in 2010.

The initiatives include “increasing individual spans of control, and simplifying business structures and processes” across the company’s global operations. Chief executive William Weldon noted that the job losses, most of which will take place outside the USA “will form only one component of the savings”, saying that “these types of changes are difficult under any circumstances”, but these series of actions are designed “to ensure that our company remains well-positioned and appropriately structured for sustainable, long-term growth in the healthcare industry”.

In a conference call, Mr Weldon added that the restrucuturing is necessary given the “pressures in the regulatory environment and the cost of bringing new products to market”. He also expressed concern about the effects of the recession as people are spending less and many have lost their jobs and (in the USA) their health insurance cover.

J&J expects to record a pretax restructuring charge in the range of $1.1-$1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009, The move comes just a few months after the company announced that it is cutting 900 jobs from its Ortho-McNeil-Janssen pharmaceuticals division in the USA and follows another major restructuring in July 2007 when 4,800 posts were eliminated.