13 January 2021

2020 has been one of the most challenging times that the maritime industry has had to face. The aftermath of this will create change in how businesses and people operate in the future. It will impact how maritime employees are recruited, who will be in demand, what skill sets will be available in the market as well as navigating the new needs and wants of people.

Mark Charman, CEO and Founder of Faststream Recruitment shares his predictions on what the future changes of the maritime recruitment marketplace will look like in 2021 for both businesses and candidates.

This insight includes the following information:

Optimism in hiring plans and budgets will return

For many 2020 has been the year of survival, but businesses can only use this strategy for so long without moving backwards. Whilst many maritime businesses delayed making decisions in hiring, projects and expansion, 2021 will look very different. In just the first few days of January, we have already seen and heard from businesses that they are entering the new year with a fresh sense of optimism and a ‘thrive’ rather than ‘survive’ mindset that is reviving their recruitment plans.

New people are required for a new reality

2020 saw many businesses invest in new and more advanced technologies. Coupled with strategies to ‘thrive’ in 2021, we have seen an uptick in requests for business transformation leaders and managers to ensure this new reality is a success. Experience in digitalisation, new technologies, future-proofing and business reinvention will be some of the most in-demand skills in 2021.

The remote working debate will continue

Maritime has traditionally held the reputation of being slow on the uptake of new ways of working, but the pandemic has forced many teams to revert to a new remote working style. Forward-thinking businesses have benefited from what now seems like a global talent pool. However, for some, it has been too much of a change. Many cite it has had a detrimental impact on collaboration, as well as training and development, particularly of their more junior staff. The demand for remote working from employees remains high but it will be a balancing act to meet the wants and needs of employees versus the overall business goals.

I suggest a hybrid model will evolve – a combination of remote working, some travel and time working in the main offices or a regional hub space.

In-country talent will continue to be the preferred route of hiring

Mobility or rather the lack of continues to be one of the biggest challenges maritime businesses are facing in recruitment. With travel restrictions changing daily as the pandemic continues, businesses have kept moving with their recruitment plans by utilising “in-country” flexible employment solutions.  Without a rigorous worldwide vaccine programme yet in place and the continued risk of travel, I see “in-country” talent will continue to be the preferred route of hiring.

Brexit will impact candidate pools

The introduction of the UK points-based immigration system for 2021 and its impact on recruitment will be multi-faceted. For businesses with global locations, I predict that they will move to an "in-country" solution rather than jump through the new immigration hoops. Others will feel confident in hiring remote workers that will not be impacted by the new UK immigration rules. The final group will be put off by the new bureaucracy and focus their efforts on hiring from within the UK.

New mindsets on what is important

The pandemic has given many employees time to think about what it is they want from their career and their life in general. Whilst some will have become more ambitious than ever, others will be looking to balance their work-life and home-life for the better. This re-prioritisation will mean that many previously passive candidates will be looking for new roles that can offer more flexibility with remote working long term, flexible hours and less travel.

Global mobility will be different

The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine across the world will vary in pace and this will impact who will be able to and want to travel. COVID-19 has understandably had a significant impact on how employees view mobility and they are reassessing the support available from their employers, the risk on their health and the success that remote working has had. Some candidates will not want to relocate or travel significant amounts in 2021, just as we saw in 2020.

Re-prioritisation of employee benefits

The change in working style to more remote working has created greater demand for more flexibility in the future.  It has also impacted the desires of current and prospective employees in their requirements of extra benefits in their roles.

Many traditional benefits such as catered lunches, refreshments, company socials, gym memberships and other office amenities are becoming outdated. Remote workers cannot enjoy these benefits and their demands for other value-adding benefits is set to continue to change as working styles mature over time. Keeping up to date with what current and prospective employees need in terms of benefits could be the difference between maintaining employment retention levels as well as having the opportunity to secure the best talent in the market.

Looking for safer and better options

2020 has been the year to find a safe port in a storm. As we enter 2021, we predict that the desire for new roles will increase in candidates and we are seeing this in the number of CV’s we are receiving. Just like businesses, candidates are entering the new year with a new sense of optimism. Whilst they may have felt it was the safer option to stay put if they had held onto their role last year, people are becoming braver and more confident that they can find something better now.

Staying connected will matter more

Employees in 2020 craved more connectivity and communication with their employers and colleagues. Whilst many may have felt the burden of ‘virtual meeting fatigue’ the alternative was isolation. Employees looked to their employers to keep them informed, productive and to address the mental health issues that spiked during the pandemic. 2021 will be no different and current and potential employees will be seeking businesses whose employer brand promotes the work that they have done to stay connected and support their teams through these difficult times.

Please contact Mark Charman or your Consultant to discuss the findings in more detail.

Contact Mark Charman

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