06 July 2022

The maritime and shipping sectors are booming and hiring managers are in pursuit of the best people in the market to help achieve their business goals. In a rapidly changing marketplace, leaders and talent acquisition teams are now faced with new people problems. Workforce engagement, recruitment, retention, reward, and benefits are now back on the table. On top of this, new skill gaps have emerged, and these same leaders and talent acquisition teams are now under pressure to find new employees and retain them for the long term to bridge the skills gap.

After careful data analysis, we bring you the top five most in-demand people in seagoing positions in the maritime and shipping sectors for 2022.

Our top five includes:

3rd Officers and Engineers

We have reported over the last 18 months an increasing shortage of experienced engineers and officers across the sectors with significant spikes in demand notably in the tanker sector. This demand has not diminished, and increasingly shipping businesses are turning to us to seek new ways of attracting new employees, particularly for 3rd Officer and 3rd Engineer positions.

Kelsey Purse, Director of Shipping at Faststream Recruitment says: “Traditionally many 3rd Officer and 3rd Engineer positions were filled by candidates from countries within Asia. However, we continue to see mobility issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and shipping businesses can no longer rely on sourcing single nationalities and need to open their requirements to a global workforce. Yet even though this global pool of candidates is relatively small and with so many businesses competing for the same talent, we are seeing more aggressive strategies in retention and recruitment right now. Working on packages that not only look at monetary benefits but also rotations, pensions, medical and work-life balance initiatives are commonplace. Hiring managers know they need to be at the forefront of trends and doing everything possible to attract these sought-after candidates.

Cruise Medical Professionals

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 many cruise liners promoted their provision of medical professionals onboard cruise ships. Attracting medically trained people such as Doctors and Nurses to jobs at sea was an important part of people strategies in cruise businesses. However, the events of the last two years have exponentially increased the need for these individuals, whilst many shoreside medical centres and hospitals have also desperately needed them.

The aftermath of the pandemic has increased the need to reassure potential cruise customers of the medical care that is available onboard, particularly those who are more vulnerable. It has been integral to the recovery of the sector. On top of this, many cruise lines have also increased their compliance processes to ensure the safety of the guests and crew onboard. The pressure is on to ensure that cruise businesses are going over and above their normal medical service provisions to deal not only with COVID-19 outbreaks but also to restore confidence that if anything happens onboard, there are professionals on hand to support and treat customers with medical ailments. This is not an easy task when we see worldwide the pressure on medical settings such as hospitals and surgeries also trying to attract these people. We have seen in many countries a fall in those who want to work in medical occupations, particularly in nursing careers and this is creating a skill shortage not just for cruises businesses, but the profession as a whole.” Says Martin Bennell, Managing Director - Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas of Faststream Recruitment.


Female Talent

Whilst this is not a new trend and one that many readers will be familiar with, the maritime and shipping sectors continue to be dominated by a workforce of males and although businesses have made efforts to balance the gender ratios, females across all levels continue to be the minority.

Particularly in the cruise and superyacht sectors, we are being asked to seek out the top female Captains, Chief Engineers and Chief Officers for positions.” Says Purse.

We have previously reported on the impact that the lack of female talent in the seafaring community is having on the shortage of representation of females at an executive level in shipping and maritime businesses.

Purse continues: “If we can see more females choosing a career at sea, with more opportunities opening up in the top ranks for them, I think that over time we will start to see, albeit a small but significant change, more females in executive positions and at board level in shipping and maritime businesses.

Cruise Senior Hotel Management

We are seeing more headlines in the press of cruise itineraries being cancelled and cruise businesses are having to manage this by releasing statements explaining that staff shortages are creating an inability to provide the service that cruise customers would usually expect.

We are seeing a lack of active candidates with a background in hotel and guest services. We reported in our Cruise Employment Report 2022 that 43% of these candidates had lost their jobs through the pandemic. Unemployed senior hotel management professionals have been snapped up and absorbed as the travel and tourism sectors have recovered, by shoreside luxury resorts. Many of these individuals have no desire to return to sea now and this is creating the biggest skill shortage we have ever seen in the cruise sector. Being shoreside might just feel like a safer option. Cruise businesses are not going down without a fight, and we are increasingly seeing more competitive and lucrative packages on offer to entice experienced senior hotel managers back to sea.” Says Purse.

Bennell adds: “As I currently sit in my Southampton, UK office, there is a cruise ship laid up outside of my window that is not sailing due to staff shortages. It makes me feel sad that we are in this situation after the difficult period the cruise sector has had over the last two years. When will the sector get a fair break?

Superyacht Chief Engineers

The superyacht sector has been impacted more than others by the recent conflicts and global sanctions on Russian businesses and yacht owners. Although the sector is still busy, we are seeing a skill shortage of Chief Engineers for superyacht clients.

Purse says: “The market has shifted towards rotation, but superyacht captains want their chief engineers onboard at all times and on a permanent basis rather than on a contract. There is a shortage of chief engineers right now but on top of that, these candidates are not looking for permanent opportunities. They want more flexibility, and this is causing friction between the desires from candidates and clients right now, creating greater demand and urgency from the client side.


If you currently need help and support with your hiring efforts, please do get in touch with our team.

If you are currently seeking a new role, you can view all of our current vacancies online, or you can register yourself with a Faststream account so that we can help seek new positions on your behalf.

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