Greenhouse business understaffing and current solutions to the problem

“AGRO v detalyakh”, a portal for agrarians, published an article devoted to staffing problems in the agricultural sector and, in particular, in the segment of indoor production. The authors of the piece talked to representatives of the leading greenhouse enterprises in Russia. Among the invited experts was Yelena Filonenko, the Head of HR Department at ECO-Culture holding

2014 saw a new era in the development of the greenhouse business in Russia – the impetus was given by the import substitution strategy caused by the economic sanctions. With new year-round production complexes being launched, the industry needed to attract thousands of employees. Today, enterprises are still lacking qualified personnel. The staffing problems force employers to lure valuable employees from other companies, promising them more attractive working conditions and higher salaries. However, there is another option for the vacancies to be filled, and it is the independent, in-house training of personnel. Employees are offered to attend company-specific classes to perform their tasks with maximum efficiency in the future.

According to Yelena Filonenko, the ongoing development and implementation of innovative greenhouse technologies give rise to a demand for highly specialized professionals with certain practical skills. It is very likely that in the near future the greenhouse industry will face a shortage of agronomists with IT expertise and experience in working with large amounts of data. The evolution of production processes requires all kinds of smart technologies to be introduced: automatic irrigation systems, temperature and lightning adjustment, nutrients supply, etc. It takes technically competent employees to configure, control, and manage such systems. Mastering the directions that are new to the agricultural industry will be the most important condition for professional growth and demand for the field’s specialists.

The Head of the HR Department of the largest greenhouse holding in the country believes that despite the continuing shortage of personnel, it has actually become easier to find people. After all, over the years of operating under the current conditions, the holding managed to develop an effective recruitment policy and assemble a team of HR managers with a thorough understanding of the specifics of the industry. In addition, working conditions at ECO-Culture’s greenhouse complexes never stop improving, which makes work more and more attractive for all-ranking candidates.

The challenges, however, have not gone away. In some regions, where the second and third phases of greenhouse complexes are being built and creating thousands of new jobs, the labor market turned out to be limited. It is really difficult to find personnel to work in those facilities. To solve the problem, the company has to extend the search radius up to 100 square meters around the complex, as well as to launch a corporate transport service and offer temporary housing to the potential employees.

All in all, practice is one thing that is very important in the agricultural industry. ECO-Culture establishes cooperation with the leading agrarian universities of the country to offers students and graduates to apply their knowledge at the production site. In addition, the company runs its own training center and actively participates in theme-based retraining programs. The holding’s facilities in Stavropol Krai became an educational platform for the “Farmer School” project launched by Rosselkhozbank. Such formats of collaboration allow specialists not only to immerse themselves deeply into the nuances of production but also to understand the economic principles of the greenhouse business.

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