"Leadership & Talent Pool" extract from the report discussing the findings from the survey within the leadership subject area, creating discussion through the facts and figures found, asking whats makes the best leader? ....
Not ex-mariners according to the survey data.78% felt that mariners do not make the best leaders, which highlights the sheer difference between being the boss of the vessel and the boss of the office.
“The environment on-board a vessel is so different to that of an office based job. Vessels are hierarchical with multiple tiers of management. Organisations ashore increasingly have a much flatter structure and collaborative leadership is becoming much more prevalent. Life on-board a vessel is process driven, there is a rulebook, regulations and huge emphasis on compliance whereas life ashore, and especially so for those looking to transition into leadership positions, need to be autonomous, freethinking and have a sense of entrepreneurialism about them. It could not be more different and the traits of an executive ashore will not come naturally for the majority of seafarers. This is not good preparation.”
There has been much coverage over the lack of structured training and development for seafarers when they do decide to make the transition ashore. This is likely to have a huge effect when it comes to the availability of talent currently working in maritime who can become future leaders. Only 43% of executives believed there to be enough talent already in the maritime sector who can become future executives.
“As recruiters we see the same trend. Ultimately the sector cannot continue to rely on the commercial sector and traditional routes to leadership to go on forever. The industry must improve on developing the skills of those at sea because the talent is there, it just needs nurturing. If it does not, maritime will eventually lose that element of expertise at sea that it so heavily relies on ashore. Seafarers are the future and it is positive that the majority of industry executives can see the issue. They now need to act on it.”
If all else fails, should maritime look outside of the sector for executive level talent? 73% of executives thought that maritime should look to other sectors for executive level talent, but where will it come from? Executives listed Logistics, Aviation, Transportation and Engineering as the most popular industries to poach from, but in reality this is unlikely to happen.
“It is catch twenty two. The maritime industry knows there is a problem and thinks it needs to look to other sectors to solve it. Our experience is that organisations are hugely reluctant to hire someone from a different vessel type than they specialise in, let alone a different industry. It is just not something which is open to discussion when we take on projects. It is not in the job specification and rarely does it form any part of our conversations with our clients. We have not seen anybody take the lead on hiring from outside the sector yet, but we hope that this changes.”
Aside from the outside vs inside industry and seafarer vs shorebased talent, we asked executives where in the world would hold the largest pool of maritime talent over the next five years. Maritime power houses London, Copenhagen and Hamburg were all in the fold but it was Singapore, perhaps unsurprisingly, which came out on top with a resounding vote from maritime leaders.
"Talent attracts talent and this is certainly the case when it comes to Singapore. The Lion City was once the place for maritime businesses to house their regional headquarters in Asia but these offices are now the global headquarters for many. With this has come the need to bring in talent and top organisations attract top people – it is a lifecycle which is hard to break. It is an attractive place for people to relocate, work and live their lives. Combine that with the growing prominence of the Asian seafarer, who may not be able to work in Europe or North America with the tightened visa restrictions, or perhaps not want to even if they could, Singapore’s prominence will not be going anywhere anytime soon.”
The survey data revealed that 36% of executives thought Singapore would hold the largest talent pool, 12% choose London, 10% Copenhagen, 9% Hamburg and 5% Hong Kong. All other locations received fewer than 5%.
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