In the ever-evolving world of maritime and employee relationships, the adage holds true: "The more I know, the more I realise I don't know." Let me start by telling you what I do know….
The relationships between people in maritime and their work are changing. So too are the relationships between you, the employer, and your employees.
As we explore the shifting dynamics within the maritime sector, there is an acknowledgement that change is not only imminent but essential. To successfully navigate the complex maritime landscape, employers and professionals must adapt to new norms.
My insights delve across three pivotal aspects of maritime recruitment and employment: attracting talent, retaining talent, and reward strategies.
You can skip forward to your most pressing interests or concerns by clicking below:
Demand for people remains high
The maritime sector's need for skilled professionals remains unwavering. However, the recruitment landscape has evolved, characterised by increased competition and complexity. Employers are facing challenges of higher difficulty, greater competition, and more time-consuming hiring processes.
All change or no change
Whilst there is a growing sentiment to hire outside the sector, we don’t see much change. The reality is that most employers are reluctant to hire from different maritime sectors, let alone a different industry.
People tell us that maritime is:
not digitally advanced enough
it doesn’t pay enough
it is not diverse enough
Something is going to have to give if we factor in Generation Z who are predicted to make up 27% of our global workforce by 2025.
We are witnessing a generational shift, with Generation Z, or "Generation Choice," entering the workforce. This new generation values diversity, inclusivity, and social impact. With more career opportunities available to them than we have ever seen before and jobs that we haven’t even heard of yet set to come, to attract and retain this talent, companies must adapt to their unique expectations.
We are all living in a time of ‘everything now’. Think of your own changing expectations when it comes to services and products, let alone recruitment processes. Speed and responsiveness are a way of life and becoming even more important to attraction and recruitment processes. Long processes are killing deals, and people are simply not prepared to wait.
Micro-Moments for Recruitment
In the era of instant gratification, employers must create multiple micro-moments to capture the attention of digitally native generations. These micro-moments can be facilitated through various mediums, such as mobile applications and social platforms.
A generation who are ‘always on’ means we must consider how they consume information and grabbing their attention is the new currency. This isn’t about this generation having a shorter attention span, but that they have more mediums in which to capture it.
Let’s take a moment to look at those you have attracted recently…
The great regret
You have all heard of the great resignation that the employment world experienced after the worst of the pandemic ended, but what we see now is a case of ‘the great regret’.
This has manifested from businesses piling on flattery and compliments to potential candidates and promising the world. In reality, often jobs are not living up to the expectations that have been set. People can feel regret in changing jobs and we found in our recent Senior Maritime Executive Survey that they were no exception.
A lesson for us all is whilst we are motivated to convince the best candidate to take the job offer, promises must meet the reality.
Start with purpose
Communicating a clear sense of purpose and values is essential for attracting talent. Many employees today seek employers with values alignment and a positive impact on society.
You are probably thinking this must be a painful topic for a recruiter but we know this has become one of the most important factors for you.
People are planning to change jobs, even you
Retaining talent has become one of the most significant challenges for maritime employers, with a significant portion of employees, including senior executives (42%), planning to change jobs in the next two years.
Seeking growth – why challenge matters
Today, employees are often seeking challenges and growth as intrinsic motivators for staying with their current employers. Extrinsic motivators like reward, title and power can only keep you going at your best for so long. Employers must offer progressive career paths, learning opportunities, and recognition for small achievements, that we like to call ‘micro-markers’.
AI – The skill of the decade?
The maritime sector's growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) presents both opportunities and concerns. AI may change the nature of jobs and impact how work is conducted. While AI might create efficiencies, some employees might be resistant to these changes.
The remote and hybrid working conundrum
While remote and hybrid working arrangements have many benefits, they also pose challenges related to company culture and employee engagement.
In our recent Senior Maritime Executive Survey;
70% said it had improved access to talent
60% said it improved diversity within their business
60% said it had a positive impact on productivity and performance
Over 50% said it had a negative impact on their company culture.
In today's rapidly evolving maritime sector, understanding the intricacies of compensation and benefits has become paramount.
Compensation and benefits have emerged as a hot topic, no longer confined to human resources discussions but extending into broader boardroom deliberations. The reason for this strategic shift is the formidable challenge that compensation presents.
Rock and a hard place
It's akin to navigating between a rock and a hard place, and for maritime businesses, it's become an ever-increasing complex subject. Businesses are striving to keep pace with the evolving demands of employees, and data has emerged as a critical need.
More, more, more
You tell us that your businesses require more data, and it must be more specific, more accurate, and more up-to-date. We have never been in a period where we have been asked for bespoke compensation intelligence reports more.
It pays to change jobs
Harsh but true. Evidence from many of our employment surveys this year has shown that employees can secure bigger pay rises by changing jobs rather than staying loyal to their employer. This could create market volatility if this continues.
Increased frequency of pay rises
There is growing demand for more frequent pay rises. Our reports tell us businesses are offering more regular pay rises. For example, in our recent ship management survey, 39% of respondents received a pay rise within the last six months, a significant increase from 27% the previous year.
On top of the increased frequency, pay rise percentages are also on the up. Think less pay rises of under 5% and more pay rises over 10%.
I think the days of annual pay reviews and appraisals are long gone.
Micro-rises and recognition
Employees now expect continuous feedback, recognition, and smaller but more frequent pay raises. It's no longer just about monetary rewards; it's about making employees feel valued and part of a dynamic work culture.
You can’t value what you don’t know
People frequently don’t know what benefits they are entitled to and nearly 50% said they had never received communications from their employers. Often businesses don’t put a value on benefits that they can communicate with their employees either.
Transparency and over-Ccommunication
Employers must communicate the value of benefits to their employees. Transparency and over-communication regarding the benefits package can make employees feel more valued and engaged.
Employee loyalty is influenced by various factors, including work-life balance, career progression, relationships, company culture, and values. Compensation alone cannot guarantee loyalty in today's workforce.
Emotions run high when it comes to compensation
Compensation and benefits are deeply intertwined with an individual's financial security, self-worth, perceived effort-reward balance, quality of life, validation, and job satisfaction. As such, it's an emotionally charged topic for employees. Employers must navigate these emotions with care to minimise negative sentiments, as often, these emotions are in our hands…
As the maritime sector evolves, it's evident that the key to attraction, retention and reward strategy success lies in a series of small, purpose-driven actions.
Attracting, retaining, and rewarding talent is no longer about making a single significant change but involves a continuous process of adapting to the changing expectations and values of the workforce.
By embracing diversity, purpose-driven goals, and a culture of transparency and communication, maritime employers can navigate the evolving landscape while ensuring a motivated and engaged workforce.
This content was originally delivered as a 30-minute presentation for Faststream Recruitment’s Global Leaders in Maritime Conference at London International Shipping Week in September 2023. If you would be interested in the presentation as a keynote speech or internal meeting, please reach out.