Russian aerospace firm United Aircraft has outlined to parliamentarians the pressures facing the industry from personnel shortages, during a meeting aimed at developing measures to ease the situation.

United Aircraft is looking to increase production of domestically-built aircraft types including the Yakovlev MC-21 and SJ-100, Ilyushin Il-114-300, and Tupolev Tu-214, while also meeting defence orders.

General director Yuri Slyusar told representatives of the State Duma that the aircraft manufacturing industry needs “help at all levels” to provide the necessary personnel – the demand amounts to a one-third rise in the number of core production workers by 2030.

The issue has previously been raised by the company, which had highlighted problems with recruitment even before the impact of the Ukrainian conflict.

United Aircraft human resources director Lyubava Shepeleva states that, in such regions as Kazan and Ulyanovsk, the need for aerospace personnel exceeds the total number of unemployed citizens.

Ulyanovsk-based Aviastar, which builds types including the Il-76 transport, has a requirement for over 3,500 personnel, claims Shepeleva.

“Even if we employ all the unemployed, we will still have a shortage of employees,” she says, adding that the industry needs highly-qualified people.

Slyusar meeting-c-United Aircraft

Source: United Aircraft

Competition in the labour market, the meeting heard, demands incentives and better training strategies

Ulyanovsk and Kazan are in the western part of Russia but the eastern regions, such as Siberia, have their own particular recruitment issues. The MC-21 is produced in Irkutsk and the SJ-100 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

United Aircraft says workers were previously attracted to these regions by large salary differentials, but claims these have narrowed to the point of parity.

State Duma deputy Sergei Gavrilov highlighted the efforts to bring students to aerospace facilities, such as Voronezh-based airframer VASO, in the interest of career guidance.

But competition in the labour market is high and Slyusar believes special measures – perhaps involving new legislation – are required to offer more attractive conditions to potential employees.

The Russian mechanical engineers’ union, whose aviation industry committee attended the meeting, says current personnel training is also an issue, with employers forced to train new recruits directly – describing this as a “waste of time” and potentially an “unjustified investment” if the recruits cannot be retained.

Russian state technology corporation Rostec is developing new training systems for its key industrial operations, tailored to employers’ needs.

Such targeted initiatives could become part of a broader government overhaul in vocational education, according to proposals put forward by the State Duma industry and trade representatives.

These proposals also included legislating for an increase in salaries for Siberian and east Russian defence industry companies, compared with those in the European region of the country, and introducing incentives such financial benefits, subsidised by the federal budget, to defence industry personnel.