Ukrainian pig industry suffers from labour shortage

Ukrainian pig industry
Photo: Canva

The ongoing mobilisation deprives the Ukrainian pig industry of much-needed personnel, an opinion poll showed. As the war carries on, the labour market situation is expected to deteriorate.

​In general, almost every second Ukrainian pig farm is currently complaining about a lack of staff. This became apparent in a survey conducted by the Ukrainian association of pig farmers in November 2023. Nearly 26% of pig farmers experience a shortage of key production personnel, such as technologists, veterinarians, operators, and managers. A similar number complained about difficulties filling technical vacancies, such as mechanics and electricians.

More pressing in crop production segment

Almost half of the respondents said the labour shortage is much more pressing in the crop production segment than at the pig farms. Many Ukrainian farms rely on their land banks and find it challenging to hire enough drivers, including tractor drivers, mechanics and agronomists, the survey yielded.

Around 45% of those surveyed predict that the staff shortage in the industry will only worsen in the coming years, the association revealed. That largely reflects a pessimistic opinion that the hostilities are not going to end any time soon.

The association disclosed that farms participating in the survey accounted for roughly 60% of pork production in Ukraine.

Mobilisation is the main factor

“Among the main reasons for personnel shortage today, the owners of the pig farming business call mobilisation,” said Irina Koroleva, the association’s communication manager. She added that nearly a quarter of the respondents also pointed their finger at a lack of qualified personnel as a pressing issue.

According to the Ukrainian State Employment Service, as of May 2023, the mobilisation has affected 83% of companies in Ukraine. Moreover, half of the companies mobilised every 10th employee, almost 40% of those mobilised were highly qualified employees: engineers, IT specialists, electricians, mechanics, machinists and drivers.

Immigration also takes a toll

Ukraine is experiencing a limited availability of workers, not only because of mobilisation but also due to emigration, the National Bank of Ukraine estimated in October 2023. Ukrainian human rights Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets estimated that more than 8 million Ukrainians have become refugees. Of these, more than 5 million have applied for temporary resident status in neighbouring European countries.

Extra costs

According to several occasional reports, Ukrainian farmers must raise wages and compensate transport costs to lure more workers. Despite that, the Ukrainian pig industry enjoyed record-breaking profitability in the past few months, largely owing to low grain prices.

Editor of Pig Progress / Topic: Pigs around the world
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