Russia’s war economy starves crucial oil industry of manpower


Russia’s oil and gas industry has been crucial for bankrolling the invasion of Ukraine, giving the Kremlin the funds to keep fighting even as the conflict drags on through its third year. But the industry is facing a shortage of manpower as the full mobilization of Russia’s economy for war exacerbates a longstanding demographic crunch.

In a nation where Gazprom PJSC’s “Dreams Come True” slogan has long summed up the career aspirations of many citizens, high-paying energy companies now find themselves having to compete for workers against the Russian army and weapons manufacturers, according to analysts and recruiters working with the industry. The sign-up bonus alone for a soldier fighting in Ukraine may be equivalent to nearly a year’s salary for an average oil and gas field worker.

This problem isn’t entirely new — Russia has faced a shrinking working-age population for almost two decades. The collapse in birth rates in the 1990s was a root cause and the Covid pandemic added to the challenge, but the invasion of Ukraine has made it much more acute.

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