19:58 10.06.2024

Interpipe solves problem of lack of people in several ways – HR Director

6 min read
Interpipe solves problem of lack of people in several ways – HR Director

 The Ukrainian industrial company Interpipe is solving the problem of shortage of specialists in several ways, the group's HR Director Vitaliy Pakhomov said in an interview with GMK Center.

According to him, there are also several reasons for the shortage of personnel: the departure of people abroad due to hostilities, the mobilization of workers (more than 10% of the total number). In addition, the natural turnover of personnel remains, which existed before the war. And since May, an additional risk has appeared – the tightening of mobilization legislation; a particularly acute situation developed in Nikopol.

"With current approaches to booking, Interpipe factories risk shutting down due to a lack of workers. Already, the personnel shortage is 12%, and in some areas 25%. More than 10% of workers have been mobilized (including more than 20% of men up to 60 years old), some people left permanently, the rest is a consequence of the natural turnover of personnel, which existed before the war. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, for various reasons, we have lost a significant number of personnel, which cannot be replaced by hiring," the HR director said.

He said the flow of external applicants, that is, men of military age, has sharply decreased, while women and pensioners can only be employed in some production areas. This happened partly due to the migration of the population to regions more remote from the fighting, partly due to the fear of immediate mobilization when registering for military service when applying for a job.

"Secondly, we expect that some people simply will not come to shifts due to the strengthening of mobilization legislation and the fear of receiving a summons on the way to work or home. According to the law, we can book no more than 50% of the current staff, the rest potentially must 'to give' to the front. The situation is especially acute in Nikopol, which has been a combat zone since July 2022," the official said.

Pakhomov said that over the past year, the number of company employees who serve in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or other law enforcement agencies has been at the level of 950 people. Today, 61 people have already returned to work from the army after demobilization. Adaptation of demobilized employees has become an important new area of ​​work with personnel. In the event of the death of an employee or his first-degree relative during hostilities, the company pays a lump sum of UAH 100,000, and also on an ongoing basis supports the families of the deceased, where there are children.

The top manager said the 50% reservation quota allocated for the metallurgical industry is not enough. "With the strengthening of mob legislation, we may lose most of the second half and will not be able to replace them. Half of the people on the site will not be able to complete the production task by either 50%, or 20%, or 1%. If, according to the technology at the rolling mill, a shift should ten people work, but the actual number is nine, this means that people will work with greater intensity and neglect some auxiliary operations that will be performed overtime. This is compensated financially, but leads to the accumulation of fatigue and cannot last long. Temporarily, we will not be able to work when there is half the required number of personnel on shift," the HR director said.

He said it is important to take into account that the 50% reservation refers to the total number of people liable for military service in the company, which does not include those already mobilized – that is, the more workers leave for mobilization, the less can be reserved for those remaining to work.

One of the options for improving the situation, according to the director, could be to extend 100% reservation to the metallurgy industry, which is used for enterprises in the fuel and energy complex. Another solution could be to actually launch "economic booking," depending on the salary level. That is, when "economic reservation" is added to the current system of 50% reservation for those employees who have non-reservable specialties.

"We believe that the own efforts of enterprises in the front-line regions will not be able to solve the problem of staff shortages without changing the reservation system. Without such changes, one cannot but exclude the scenario of a decrease in production volumes, which is negative for both the company and the government," the HR director said.

Regarding salaries at the group's enterprises, Pakhomov said Interpipe is currently the industry leader in terms of average salaries – this happened after the March increase in salaries by an average of 20%. According to the dynamics over the past year, the average salary of production personnel increased by 37%, to UAH 23,000 compared to 2022. This growth last year is explained by a general increase in salaries by 15% in March, a low comparison base for 2022, in which there was a lot of downtime, as well as an increase in production volume, which led to an increase in the bonus part of salaries.

"In the current conditions, not only financial motivation is important, but also other support measures. We have fully retained corporate medical insurance, free corporate transport, and compensation for meals. Quotas for summer health care for children have increased significantly compared to pre-war times; virtually all requests for vacations in summer camp from parents of children aged 7-14 years were satisfied, the company compensated 80% of the cost of the trip. It is also important for us to improve the working conditions of employees. We have significantly increased funding for repairs of household premises at enterprises (canteens, showers, etc.)," the HR said.

He said that by the beginning of the war, the total number of employees was at the level of 10,500 people, the active number was 10,000. Then there was migration and mobilization, and now the total number of employees was about 9,500, the active number was 8 thousand people The difference arises due to mobilized people who continue to be on the payroll, women on maternity leave, etc. That is, with the beginning of a full-scale invasion, the number of active personnel decreased by about 20%, or 2,000 people.

Interpipe is currently working to solve this problem in several directions. For example, training new employees, outsourcing, attracting women to production, working with young personnel.