03 October 2023

In the vast expanse of the maritime industry, the horizon is ever-shifting. As we stand at the helm, our role as senior executives is not merely to maintain course but to chart a journey toward the future. This report delves into the heart of the maritime landscape, examining the currents of change and the emerging trends that will shape our future.

Our industry, known for its resilience, adaptability, and global reach has always been driven by innovation and a commitment to operational excellence. Yet, the last few years have brought an array of challenges and opportunities, from the integration of cutting-edge technologies to the pressing need for sustainability. Senior maritime executives find themselves at the nexus of transformation and in this report, we explore not only the challenges but also the boundless potential that lies on the horizon. We endeavour to uncover the changes that we have seen since our previous surveys and explore career, reward, leadership, working styles, AI, and the future of talent in maritime.

29% of senior executives shared they had been concerned about their job security in the last two years, a decrease from 52% in 2017. COVID-19, age, budget restrictions, market volatility, and changes in business ownership and strategy were all noted as factors.

There has been movement at the top with over a quarter of respondents saying they had changed jobs in the last two years, but 15% regretted doing so. The commonality of their job change regret was that the role had been overpromised and then undelivered.

42% had plans to change jobs over the next two years, the top reason for senior executives to either job seek or stay loyal was the same. They either needed a new challenge in a new job, or their role still challenged them enough to make them stay.

The top skills and knowledge senior executives wanted to improve over the next 12 months included industry trends, AI, understanding new generations, change management, and empathetic leadership.

Hybrid and remote working have become the new norm, 75% of senior executives said they offered this style of working to their employees. 70% said it had improved their access to more talent, 60% agreed it had improved diversity in their business and 60% shared it had made a positive impact on productivity and performance. However, over half of senior executives felt it harmed their company culture.

There was a range of stress levels revealed by senior executives. Just under a quarter rated their stress as low, 36% rated it as very high, with the remainder citing at mid-level. Executives in the majority were happy in their roles though, with 65% sharing they felt very happy or happy, just 10% said they were unhappy.

Company culture was what mattered most to executives at work, and retaining talented staff and creating new leaders for the future were also important priorities. For employees, they felt that career progression, company culture, and reward were the top factors they could improve to make a positive impact on their business.

When it came to reward, senior executives felt that hybrid and remote working had increased it for employees. However, when it came to their own reward packages, 87% felt that the inflation rates and the cost of living would have a short or long-term impact on it. The future looked brighter and 42% foresaw reward rising in real terms for executives in the next two years.

26% of senior executives said their business was already using AI, and 75% thought that AI would improve maritime jobs in the future. However, 39% were still discussing what its impact would be on their current and future hiring plans and only 10% shared it was already impacting both their current and future hiring plans.

92% of senior executives would recommend their careers in maritime to new generations, an uplift from 82% in 2019. 79% agreed that new generations have what it takes to be successful in maritime, noting digitalisation and decarbonisation as opportunities for them.

The top maritime hotspots where talent would be located in the next five years included Singapore, Athens, Dubai, Copenhagen and Hamburg.

There is a growing assurance in tomorrow’s senior executives in maritime with 62% believing that there was potential talent already in their workforces to become future leaders, a considerable jump from 43% in 2017.

What skills did senior executives believe they needed more of in their teams over the next two years? AI, knowledge of industry trends, adaptability, change management, communication, and creativity were all highlighted.

Over half of senior executives agreed they would need to make changes to their leadership over the next 12 months, highlighting the sentiment of senior executives to want to continually improve and evolve with the workplace and market around them.

Download the Senior Maritime Executive Report 2023

If you would like to discuss any of the findings, topics, and thoughts from the author, please contact: Mark Charman, CEO & Founder

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

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