Bangalore: It doesn’t have enough managers to supervise the production of a fighter aircraft. So, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is doing what not too many other companies in its position would do — trying to woo back some of the people who have left it in the past few years.
The state-owned defence equipment maker has invited engineers and scientists with at least 12-18 years experience to come back because this would help it deliver planes on schedule for its main customer, the Indian Air Force (IAF).
“Even if 30 or 40 people who have quit, join us back (it would help),” said Sanjeev Sahi, director for personnel and administration at HAL.
HAL is also trying to hire people who have worked with IAF as engineers and pilots.
The number of people who have left HAL in the past few years isn’t known although Sahi said around 800 people with less than three years experience have left the company over the past four years to join mainly fast growing software firms and private Indian firms in the aerospace sector.
The Bangalore-based company produces aircraft for the Armed Forces and aerospace systems including aircraft doors and engines at units spread across the country. It has orders in hand of around Rs40,000 crore. To address the issue of manpower shortage, and to focus on core areas, HAL has set up seven joint ventures with firms such as Infotech Enterprises Ltd, the Hyderabad based engineering services company, television tubes and aircraft display maker Samtel Group and Snecma, the French engine maker.
There are around 7,500 engineers working in the aerospace engineering services area in India, while there is a requirement of around 35,000 of the same by 2012, according to an independent estimate released in 2007 by CSM Software Pvt. Ltd, a Bangalore engineering services and training firm.
“Assuming a 10% increase in the number every year, there will be more than a 50% gap between demand and supply in five years,” said Satya Srikanth, chief executive of CSM Software.
Dataram Mishra, a former HAL employee who runs Cades Digitech Pvt. Ltd, said there is no short cut for training aerospace engineers due to its unique requirements, unlike the software industry, where an engineer can be trained in three months.