Eesti Energia's subsidiary Enefit Power is struggling to find new workers. While the company blames the government's messaging around the imminent closure of the shale oil industry, there is also a shortage of skilled workers.
This year the company plans to mine 10 million tonnes of oil shale - an increase from 7.2 million last year - and produce six terawatt-hours of electricity.
Last year the company hired 500 people and it could have easily hired another 100 workers if it could find them, Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
Enefit Power plans to hire several hundred more this year - if it can find suitable employees.
"For some, shift work is not suitable. Some have benefits and allowances that they are still receiving from an employer or the unemployment fund. Perhaps people are looking at which sectors it is worth retraining for and which are not," Enefit Power manager Andres Vainola said, describing why it is hard to find workers.
"And let's be honest, we don't see very strong political support for maintaining the sustainability of shale energy. We often have to fight these myths too," he added.
Several companies are planning to open new shale oil mines in Ida-Viru County in the coming years.
The county has around 600 job vacancies and 7,000 people registered as unemployed. But it is still difficult for companies to find new workers.
Anneki Teelahk, head of the unemployment fund's Ida-Viru County department, told AK there is a shortage of skilled people who want to work
"This has always been the case, especially now. On the one hand, it is a good thing that there are more than 600 jobs in Ida-Viru County, but on the other hand, of course, we need to find people for these positions. And if we do not find them, we have to train them and motivate those people who have potential. All of this is our job," she said.
Vainola said the company will need workers even after the shale oil industry switches to the chemical industry, which is the long-term plan.
Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright