18 September 2023

People strategies across ship management continue to dominate conversations but this year we have seen a notable shift from a need to not just attract new talent but a heightened focus on retaining people.

The strategy to retain talent and further grow teams is placing pressure on salaries, benefits, and working patterns as well as creating a need for businesses to improve work-life balance and reduce stress levels.

Businesses want to understand the candidate trends as well as recognise and deliver against the motivations and career aspirations of their people.

We have created the second superintendent survey to highlight trends across important topics including retention, well-being, advocacy, benefits, bonuses, working styles, and pay rises.

Over three-quarters of superintendents shared they had received a pay rise, with a noticeable increase in these being given in the last 12 months. The percentage of pay rises was also on the up and the number of superintendents receiving pay rises of between ten and twenty per cent more than doubled on average.

It paid to change jobs for superintendents. 50% of job movers received a pay rise of over ten per cent versus those who stayed loyal to their employer, with only 18% getting this pay rise.

There was a small increase in the percentage of superintendents earning bonuses this year, but in particular, there was a big uptick in bonuses for superintendents working in the Middle East and Africa region.

Bonuses were in the majority given annually and they were largely based on the superintendent’s performance in isolation or their performance and the company’s in combination. Less than a quarter of superintendents received a loyalty bonus but four in five said it was an attractive incentive.

Bonuses, working from home, and private medical for the individual and their family remained as the top benefits received. Flexi-time and enhanced pensions increased, whilst company car/car allowance decreased.

Over 40% of superintendents said their benefits were never communicated to them. This raises concerns over how they will value them as part of their package if they aren’t aware of them.

For those who did receive communications about their benefits, these were most commonly communicated via in-person conversations and emails, during reviews and through an employee benefits platform.

Nearly a third of superintendents said their benefits had been reviewed in the last six months, but 29% said they had never been reviewed. This was more prevalent for superintendents working in Europe.

The top three most desired benefits matched the most received; bonuses, working from home and private medical for the individual and their family.

Working styles continue to be debated and 44% of superintendents said they were working in the office full-time but just 13% wished to work in this way. 48% of superintendents were working in a hybrid style but in reality, 77% wanted to work this way. The majority of hybrid workers were working in the office three or four days per week.

40% of superintendents agreed they would turn down a job that did not offer flexible working hours, and the same percentage said they would turn down a job offer if it did not offer at least one day per week working from home.

Nearly three-quarters of superintendents were planning to change jobs in the next 12 months and over 50% said they had been headhunted in the last six months. Job seeking for superintendents working for a ship manager increased but decreased for those working for a ship owner.

Salaries and benefits were the top motivation for job seeking, whilst work-life balance was the top motivator to stay with an employer. Three-quarters of superintendents agreed that work-life balance was more important to them than salary.

Singapore, Dubai, London, Hamburg, Athens, Copenhagen and Rotterdam were voted as the most attractive maritime hubs by superintendents.

There was a decrease year on year in the number of superintendents who felt very valued by their employer

(41% in 2022 to 28% in 2023). Over two-thirds of superintendents said they would recommend their careers to young people, but these sentiments had decreased year on year.

60% of superintendents rated their stress level as high or very high. Workload, leadership style and lack of resources and technology were voted as the top stress factors. In addition one in five superintendents said they were unhappy in their role.

Download the Superintendent Employment Report 2023

If you would like to discuss any of the findings, topics and thoughts from the authors, please contact:

For all media enquiries, please contact Nic Jones, Group Marketing Director.

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