We live and work in a time where job security no longer comes from being employed, but from being employable. So, how do you remain employable in today’s fast-changing maritime sector?
Well as the Australian Olympic Team says you’ve got to back yourself to win! The maritime sector is going through a period of unprecedented change and there is no end in sight to these developments. With these changes comes a need for companies to employ people with different skill sets and simply “staying current” is no longer enough. If you want to keep your career path on an upward trajectory and capitalise on the opportunities these changes present, you need to keep your skills and knowledge at the forefront of these changes.
The maritime sector is already starting to see skills shortages in areas such as AI, big data, and green tech, to name a few. The people who have invested in themselves and are upskilled in these areas now command the top salaries and have the pick of the opportunities.
New ways of learning
The pandemic has accelerated changes in how we learn, and the maritime sector is no exception, with more personal development opportunities available to us than ever before. Gone are the days when you needed to take months off from work and go back to school. E-learning is now leading the charge in personal development and increasingly sophisticated interactive learning portals are the way forward.
People expect to be able to learn new skills and knowledge when they want, how they want and in a way that fits in with the rest of their busy lives.
Improving your existing skills and knowledge counts too
Upskilling doesn’t always have to be about learning new skills and knowledge, it can be about improving or building upon the skills and knowledge you already have, including your own soft skills. All too often we interview people who have great qualifications and who are subject-matter experts, but they are let down by inadequate soft skills. It’s no good being the smartest person in the room if you can’t communicate with people and get your point across.
Choose your preferred learning path
There is a raft of content out there to help people improve their soft skills and whether you want to learn by watching a YouTube video, listening to a podcast, downloading an App on your phone or perhaps simply reading a book, it’s available.
Soft skills are desirable
In today’s maritime sector if you want to put your career on a management or leadership track, having great soft skills is no longer desirable in the eyes of an employer, but essential and could make the difference between securing that next great role or promotion.
Employers want to employ well-rounded people who have that perfect blend of skills, knowledge, and experience, and of course a great personality to go with it. But we must not underestimate the importance experience plays in upskilling. After all, so much of what we learn both in our careers and in life comes from the experience of what worked and possibly more importantly, what didn’t work.
Qualifications versus experience
Often employers will view qualifications as a non-negotiable must have and you simply either do or do not have the required qualifications. Experience is a much more complex matter and an area where people can differentiate themselves. You might have done the course, and got the qualification, but only have limited experience. The qualification gets you through the door, now you need to be able to show what you’ve done with it and how that makes you stand out.
Remember in most cases experience trumps qualifications, but experience and qualifications together trump everything.
Employers are increasingly recognising the importance promoting a continuous learning culture plays in both attracting and retaining talent, and the best companies are bridging the skills gap by investing in upskilling their own people before going to market. New generations entering the maritime sector have more career choices than ever before and opportunities for personal development will figure high on their agenda.