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. Across all sectors and disciplines, talented people are in demand.
The impacts of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine have made their mark on the shipping and maritime sectors, not just locally but on a global scale. The significance of global sanctions on Russian businesses has affected the transportation of goods as well as the global economy.
Maritime and shipping businesses are pressing ahead, keen to leave more turbulent times behind and prosper forwards. The four ‘R’s’ continue to drive hiring. Some businesses are restructuring – they are looking at how their businesses are organised and the changes they need to make. Others are ‘Reshaping’ – and are analysing the make-up of their teams and the people they need to remain competitive. Another group of businesses are simply ‘Replacing’ – they are making changes, particularly at the c-suite level with those they believe can take the business forwards with new skillsets. Lastly, we are still seeing some businesses take the opportunity for ‘Reinvention’. Some businesses are soul searching and making the decision to reinvent themselves, some want to focus more heavily on diversity and inclusion, and others are focussing more on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).
After careful data analysis, we bring you the top 10 most in-demand shore-based professionals in the maritime and shipping sectors for 2022.
Our top 10 includes:
Data Science/Analytics Specialists
The demand for Data Science/Analytics Specialists across all sectors has increased exponentially over the last few years. We have seen particularly in the maritime and shipping sectors that experienced and talented data specialists are in great demand.
Adam Graves, Director of Marine at Faststream Recruitment says: “We are seeing so many different types of business globally needing data specialists. From software and SaaS companies, to ship management companies who need to ensure their vessels are operating environmentally efficiently. Data is king but businesses need experts to use it to their competitive advantage.”
Having relevant sector experience is also proving very attractive to our clients. “We are seeing more data than ever being captured in the shipping and maritime sectors. Having data specialists who can use their skills to visualise the vast quantities of data on offer and help to provide critical thinking and actionable insights towards the commercialisation of data is a huge step forward for businesses and one that many do not want to be left behind from. What we need to ensure as a sector is that we don’t lose these people to the tech companies outside of maritime and ensure we can make the sector attractive to ensure longevity and retention.”
Directors and VPs with a good understanding of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG)
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies are becoming more important than ever for businesses within maritime and shipping. Many experts are drawing parallels between the unforeseen risks of the pandemic and the climate crisis, with both impacting the global economy substantially. This in turn is creating a greater need for decision-makers in shipping and maritime businesses, such as Directors and VPs, to gain a better awareness of these important initiatives and understand the impact they have on business decision-making.
Mark Charman, CEO & Founder, says: “Particularly in the Asia-Pacific region in our executive search work, ESG understanding, and awareness is being added to the wish list of skillsets and for some is becoming a pre-requisite. Many see that for their business to perform successfully moving forward they must have decision-makers who understand the impact that ESG has on their business. It can influence investment, employment creation, equitable growth, protection of the environment and safeguarding of customers and wider society’s interests. Those who can show this understanding in an interview are becoming highly desired by many clients. A commitment to staying at the forefront of what impacts the global maritime and shipping sectors and conducting business under ethical standards, I see as only growing in importance over the next few years.”
Technical and Marine Superintendents
The demand for experienced technical and marine superintendents is high. Yet the pool of candidates which most marine and technical superintendents come from remains quite small. Traditionally the routes of talent have come from experienced masters or chief engineers and of which they have the vessel type experience that the shipping company is recruiting for.
Kelsey Purse, Director of Shipping at Faststream Recruitment says: “Traditionally, you would go to sea, try to work your way up to the rank of master or chief engineer, gain experience and then seek a shoreside position in the latter part of your career, meaning that your career as a superintendent might be limited to 10 to 20 years. If we now factor in that a group of these people will now have retired, we will see the candidate pool dwindle. In recent years, some top-ranking seafarers have decided they don’t want to come ashore, they are used to a life at sea, can earn more money and are happy to continue to retirement age. On top of this, today, those people going to sea are not always working until they reach the top rank, younger seafarers want to come ashore more quickly and don’t necessarily want a career as a superintendent, it isn’t always as attractive to them. We are seeing younger seafarers want to work in some of the newer parts of maritime, like software, data, and commercial roles.”
Solution Sales Executives and Managers
The demand for solution sales executives and managers has grown in the last 12 months. The people who traditionally occupied these roles are being replaced due to being too technical and because of a new breed of talent who are commercially minded and can create value collaboratively with the customer.
Charman says: “Particularly in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Korea there is a desire for solution sales and service people who can act as consultants. Clients are looking for technically sound people that can build engagement and trust. They want them out in the marketplace client-facing, understanding and developing services and products that their customers need.“
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.
Martin Bennell, Managing Director – Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas of Faststream Recruitment says: “More than ever, we are being asked specifically to include female candidates on our shortlists for clients. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted from being the all-encompassing problem it once was, many businesses are now putting diversity and inclusion at the top of their agendas and balancing the gender gap is for many their first point of call. This is particularly prevalent in the c-suite, but we are seeing more demand across all levels of roles. The UK Chamber of Shipping and the SSA has made an impact in the market by appointing females into top positions.”
In recent times we have seen businesses such as consultancies, flag registries, class societies, third-party surveyors, law firms and P&I clubs struggling with internal recruitment for marine surveyors. Demand is high and the candidate pool has not grown.
“We are seeing businesses competing for the same group of people. The traditional routes to this profession have not been sustainable and as we see people get promoted, retire or switch positions, we aren’t seeing the same number being replaced through the traditional pipeline. Our clients are seeking Naval Architects and former seagoing senior officers for their Marine Surveyor vacancies. There has been a lack of graduate opportunities during the pandemic years and the seafaring demographic has been shifting away from where our client offices are based. Competitors are ‘bear-hugging’ these front-line, experienced workers which means it can be incredibly difficult to engage with the right talent.” Says Graves.
The brokerage marketplace is fiercely competitive and the demand from broking houses for additional brokers has been continually increasing.
“It isn’t just the big houses that need additional talent in their broking teams. We are seeing smaller businesses and new start-ups more active in the recruitment marketplace too. They are benefitting from lower overheads, and faster decision-making and can adapt to ensure they can offer competitive packages. We’ve never seen a time like this where increased bonuses, golden handshakes as well as counteroffers are on the table,” says Bennell.
Those with two years of experience plus are particularly attractive. Clients are not put off if these individuals need cross-training. They cite teaching a new product is much more cost-effective than teaching someone a new skill.
Bennell continues: “Experienced brokers with a good book of business and a strong sales background are a hot skillset right now. Businesses need people who can make money tomorrow and so if they think they can make money quickly, they want to interview them and get them started, the sooner the better.”
Increasingly sophisticated technology has created a significant demand for automation engineers. In the last couple of years, talent with a blend of electronic and electrical backgrounds was in hot demand.
“It is becoming more commonplace to see maritime businesses actively looking outside of the sector. People with a background in the industrial, manufacturing and energy sectors have become very attractive.” Says Graves.
LNG subject matter experts in the Cruise sector
Modern day cruise ships and new cruise ships scheduled to be built over the next five to ten years are using new technology via LNG fuel.
“This new fuel is creating skill gaps for cruise businesses, particularly within the ship management and marine operations disciplines. Increasingly cruise businesses are actively recruiting people with LNG knowledge and experience. They are trying to poach talent from mainstream LNG shipping businesses. We have already mentioned the demand for superintendents, but those with LNG experience are the greatest in-demand for many different businesses. There will be a lot of headhunting and very tempting offers in the marketplace this year.” Says Purse.
The global shift towards digitalisation in maritime, combined with the fast-evolving technology landscape, means that for businesses to be successful they need to react very quickly. As a result, many businesses are moving away from project management to more agile methods of working. Building lean product teams within their organisations and harnessing cross-functional teams across marketing, development, IT and commercial.
Graves says: “We are seeing an increase in vacancies for positions such as product manager, product owner, scrum master, agile lead and product marketing to name a few. Hiring Managers are having recruitment and training issues as they require experienced individuals in place to build out these teams.”
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