Survey: Estonian industry suffers from lack of specialists ({{commentsTotal}})

The workshop of Combiwood, a wood industry company based in Southern Estonia.
The workshop of Combiwood, a wood industry company based in Southern Estonia. Source: (Combiwood)

Estonia’s industrial companies are expecting turnover growth this year and are planning to invest into making their production more effective.

According to a survey by Swedbank, 68 percent of Estonia’s industry is hoping to increase turnover this year. Of the same companies, 93 percent are planning to invest as well, chiefly into making their work more effective. This can mean, among other things, that they will replace some of the less skill-based positions with robots.

One of the biggest worries of the sector is finding staff with the required skills. Some 79 percent of companies say that they are suffering from a lack of qualified specialists, and every fifth states it is planning to hire abroad.

“We see this on the shop floor as well as in the offices. On the shop floor we see that the price pressure is increasing. We are competing with Finnish companies, and we see that the gap is getting smaller. At the moment we are thinking about markets close by, Ukraine seems to be a chance to get the same quality at a lower price. If we’re talking about the offices, then in terms of engineers the situation is even worse,” tank producer Estanc’s CEO, Mihkel Tammo, commented the situation.

Head of Swedbank’s industry department, Raul Kirsimäe, tends to agree. “We lack specialists the most, for example in the heavy industry, all of the processing industry, the wood industry. There is a lack of specialists able to work with state-of-the-art technology, and who can also plan production processes,” Kirsimäe explained.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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