The next five years is set to be a competitive time for ship owners and ship managers that are sourcing seafarers. This war for talent is forcing changes in the way that people are being recruited.
With an increase in the use of digital communications through web-based interviews, utilising technology like Skype is becoming more and more commonplace. In fact, our cruise clients are often using online recorded interviews before the Skype conversation even takes place. This form of recruitment has been demanded by the increased global workforce requiring flexibility, and the speed at which recruitment needs to be performed at.
Businesses can no longer be dependent on sourcing single nationalities and need to open their requirements to this global workforce. As more traditional seafaring candidate rich countries have become more developed, we expect to see a noticeable decrease in people moving into seafarer careers when other opportunities are increasing, especially IT and telecommunication jobs ashore.
Whilst the global expansion continues, we’ll also see an increase in requirements for European seafarers as ship owners look to use this skill pool for future office-based roles.
What will generation Z seafarers demand from their employers?
Seafarers and potential candidates that were born from the mid-'90s onwards are making bigger demands of their potential employers. In our recent survey of cadets at Warsash Maritime College based in Southampton, UK, in early 2018, an important issue for future seafarers was for competitive pay in the market, ensuring the attractiveness of an industry that they are focused on entering.
Improved employee benefits are going to be a must for this generation, citing that they expect paid sick leave, family health insurance and maternity & paternity leave as a given. They also want access to improved home comforts including an onboard gym and access to fast and reliable Wi-Fi. All items thatoutside the seafaring community would be common place; our industry has got to improve to mimic other industries before this generation turns its back on it for good.
“We want an avocado and we want it right now.” This generation wants to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. The speed of progression through the ranks and then to shore is increasing.
How will companies have to adapt to compete in the new war for talent?
Sourcing new staff will need to continue through online channels and with the use of new technologies to meet demands, but we can never forget that recruitment is high touch and nothing will ever replace human interaction. People are not robots or a piece of data, they need to be persuaded and nurtured. A computer cannot sell your job for you.
As already mentioned, to ensure the success of recruiting talent, businesses need to open their geographic candidate preference but also continue to be open to employing more women.
Candidates want to have opportunities with career development, they want to learn. Onboard training and development needs to be available to them, paid study leave to at least be considered and for employers to offer qualification sponsorship. They are thirsty for knowledge, let us not be the ones to lead them to a draught.
What can maritime learn from other sectors?
We are experiencing a market where we have talent puddles, not talent pools; we must be careful where we splash!
Treating current staff well is vital, there is a need to retain the current talent when we are experiencing small talent puddles, not pools. However, there is a sea of potential talent that is being overlooked when we are recruiting. Stop – there are potential employees that boast transferable skills from other vessel types. Consider recruiting based on attitudes and behaviour not just prior experience.
Embracing new technology during the recruitment phase can help make your job easier. Don’t be afraid of it, or disbelief its use. Technology combined with people is a winning force, leading to greater candidate engagement throughout the hiring process.