08 May 2024

In the bustling maritime hub of Singapore, the demand for skilled professionals in the shipping and maritime sectors continues to surge. As one of the world's leading maritime centres, Singapore plays a pivotal role in global trade and logistics, driving a constant need for talented individuals to navigate the complexities of the sectors.

From sales professionals to seasoned technical superintendents and service engineers, the demand for top talent in Singapore's shipping and maritime sector spans a diverse range of specialities.

We delve into the most sought-after roles and skill sets in Singapore's shipping and maritime sectors, exploring the key factors driving demand and the evolving landscape of talent acquisition in this dynamic marketplace.

The most in-demand people in maritime and shipping in Singapore include:

Sales Professionals

Sales professionals with a hunter mindset are in great demand by maritime businesses in Singapore.

Firstly, there is a huge demand from clients for innovative solutions and services, particularly in industries such as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Port Agency, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers. With ship build sites booked out until 2030, the market growth is evident, creating opportunities for sales hunters to capitalise on.

Traditionally, the maritime industry has been populated by sales professionals who are "farmers" relying on long-standing relationships to secure business. However, with the squeeze on hiring expats and the increasing investment in growth, there is a growing need for sales professionals with a hunter mindset who can proactively seek out new opportunities and drive revenue growth,” says Robert Warner, Associate Director of Faststream Asia-Pacific.

Moreover, with the rising focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives and decarbonisation efforts in the maritime sector, sales professionals with the ability to leverage this information and incorporate it into their sales strategies are in high demand. They need to sell to key stakeholders such as ship owners and operators who are increasingly conscious of sustainability and regulatory compliance.

The top three rapidly growing areas for new business/hunter skillset are:

1. Alternative Fuels/New Build Sales for OEMs

2. Specialist retrofit products such as air lubrication

3. Software designed to increase fuel efficiency

Despite the market demand, attracting top sales hunters can be challenging, as many of them are already employed with bonuses on the horizon. Additionally, hunters may be hesitant to start anew, preferring to leverage their existing networks and relationships. Therefore, it is crucial for maritime businesses to create environments that incentivise and support sales hunters, providing them with the resources, support, and proximity to business leaders needed to thrive in their roles.

Sales Professionals - Top People in Demand in Maritime and Shipping in Singapore - Faststream Recruitment

Service Engineers

Service Engineers, particularly those working for Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), are currently experiencing heightened demand. However, this demand is met with challenges due to a squeeze on talent availability. While there is a pressing need to hire local talent, the recruitment landscape is encountering obstacles.

One notable challenge is the increasing hiring price, with salaries on the rise to attract and retain skilled professionals. Despite this, the maritime and shipping sectors have not traditionally been perceived as attractive to local individuals, resulting in a shortage of experienced personnel.

Warner says: “The industry is also grappling with an experience gap, where the pool of seasoned professionals is dwindling. Consequently, there is a growing necessity to hire new graduates to fill these roles. Fortunately, more businesses are now open to hiring recent graduates, acknowledging the need to bridge the experience gap.

Interestingly, while the demand for Service Engineers has not significantly increased, the supply has decreased. This situation exacerbates the talent shortage issue and emphasises the urgency for proactive recruitment strategies within the maritime and shipping sector in Singapore.

Claims Executives and Underwriters

There is a palpable surge in demand for Claims Executives and Underwriters. Professionals are actively seeking new opportunities or avenues for career progression, driving significant movement within the industry. Unlike market-driven fluctuations, this demand is primarily fuelled by the quest for skilled individuals who can navigate the complexities of the maritime landscape with finesse.

Interestingly, there is a growing interest among professionals in relocating to Singapore, drawn by the expanding presence of maritime clubs and organisations in the region. Ship owners, recognising the importance of effective risk management and insurance handling, are ramping up their recruitment efforts for Claims Executives and Underwriters to bolster their operational capabilities,” Warner shares.

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has also catalysed a transition phase, with professionals now more open to exploring new opportunities and career transitions. This shift is particularly noticeable in the swift hiring processes of Protection and Indemnity (P&I) clubs, where the urgency to fill critical roles like Claims Executives and Underwriters is recognised to avoid prolonged vacancies.

Operating in lean environments, many maritime and shipping businesses are realising the imperative of bolstering their teams with skilled professionals to ensure operational efficiency and workload management. Concurrently, P&I clubs are actively investing in growth initiatives in Singapore, further driving the demand for talent in claims handling and underwriting roles.

Traditionally stable, the maritime and shipping job market is witnessing a notable trend towards professionals considering career moves. However, despite the escalating demand, many businesses within the industry lack dedicated talent acquisition functions, presenting challenges in recruitment and retention efforts.

Claims Executives and Underwriters - Top People in Demand in Maritime and Shipping in Singapore - Faststream Recruitment

Technical Superintendents

Technical Superintendents are increasingly in demand, particularly due to the following factors.

Global ship management companies have established significant operations in Singapore, underscoring the city-state's importance as a key maritime hub. With this, there is a pressing need for Technical Superintendents to oversee vessel operations and ensure compliance with safety and regulatory standards.

Lorenzo Agatiello, Director of Faststream Asia-Pacific says: “The rising cost of living in Singapore, coupled with the introduction of new employment schemes such as the Compass Scheme, has heightened the demand for Technical Superintendents. While companies strategically aim to base these professionals in Singapore, the scarcity of talent has resulted in increased hiring costs.

In the hiring process, businesses often prioritise individuals with seafaring experience. However, a sizeable portion of available candidates present challenges in ensuring a diverse nationality base when hiring individuals on work passes.

Securing Technical Superintendents at the right price point poses a significant challenge for businesses. Those unwilling to meet higher salary expectations may face prolonged vacancies. Additionally, complexities arise when candidates require specific Certificates of Competency (COC) levels, further complicating the hiring process.

The demand for Technical Superintendents stems from several factors, including vessel replacements, fleet growth initiatives, and changes resulting from mergers and acquisitions within the maritime and shipping sectors. These factors contribute to restructuring efforts and the need to maintain operational efficiency.

Moreover, as seasoned professionals in the field approach retirement age, there is a concerted effort to inject new talent into the workforce. This drive to bring in fresh perspectives and expertise underscores the ongoing demand for Technical Superintendents in Singapore's maritime and shipping sectors.

Market/Data Analysts

There is a notable uptick in demand for Market/Data Analysts, and this surge can be attributed to several key factors. Firstly, as commercial operations expand within maritime and shipping businesses, there is a growing need to bolster decision-making processes and refine business strategies. This expansion necessitates the presence of Market/Data Analysts who can provide critical insights derived from data analysis.

There is a heightened emphasis on understanding and leveraging data effectively. Companies are increasingly aware of the value embedded within their datasets, and they are actively seeking professionals with strong analytical skills to unlock this potential. On top of this Artificial Intelligence (AI) combined with data analysis is also increasing. One example is AI is being utilised to analyse vast amounts of data generated by navigation systems and producing improved decision making from it,” comments Agatiello.

These analysts play a pivotal role in interpreting complex data sets to identify market trends, understand customer behaviour, and optimise operational efficiencies.

There is also a growing recognition of the need to optimise the utilisation of data assets. Maritime and shipping businesses are keen to harness data in innovative ways, whether it's to optimise shipping routes, improve fuel efficiency, or enhance customer experiences. Market/Data Analysts are integral to this process, offering specialised expertise in analysing and extracting actionable insights from large volumes of data.

The hiring of Market/Data Analysts contributes to the overall expansion and capabilities of commercial teams within maritime companies. By integrating these professionals into their teams, organisations can augment their decision-making capabilities with data-driven insights. This strategic approach not only supports growth objectives but also enhances competitiveness in the dynamic maritime and shipping market landscape.

Market/Data Analysts - Top People in Demand in Maritime and Shipping in Singapore - Faststream Recruitment

Ship Brokers

Ship Brokers are experiencing a surge in demand, driven by various industry dynamics. They are now more essential than ever, with their roles expanding to encompass a broader range of responsibilities within the maritime and sipping sectors. As a result, there is a heightened demand for talented individuals who possess the necessary skills and expertise to navigate this evolving landscape.

The recent investments in offshore, in both traditional oil and gas projects and renewable energy sources, along with a decrease in available ships for operation, suggest a more positive outlook for the offshore vessel market in the coming months, meaning that Ship Brokers could be in even more demand.

Lorenzo says: “Despite being in high demand, Ship Brokers are known for their tendency to remain in their roles for extended periods. This longevity poses a challenge for businesses seeking to fill vacant positions or expand their brokerage teams.

Ship Brokers with expertise in vessels ranging from Handy to Panamax sizes are particularly sought after, as they play a critical role in facilitating transactions across a diverse range of vessel types and sizes.

The movement of personnel within the maritime industry, driven by factors such as mergers, acquisitions, and the emergence of new brokerage firms, contributes to fluctuations in the availability of Ship Brokers. Additionally, some professionals opt to establish their own brokerage ventures or explore opportunities in alternative maritime hubs such as Dubai.

Despite these movements, the demand for Ship Brokers remains robust in Singapore. While some individuals may relocate or pursue independent ventures, the roles they leave behind continue to be essential within the maritime and shipping ecosystem. Therefore, businesses must adapt their recruitment strategies to attract and retain top talent in this competitive market.

Chartering Managers

The demand for Chartering Managers is on the rise, propelled by several key factors. Firstly, many businesses are embarking on expansion initiatives, resulting in a need to bolster their teams with skilled professionals. As these companies grow, there is a corresponding increase in the workload associated with managing vessel charter agreements and commercial operations, necessitating the expertise of Chartering Managers to navigate these complexities effectively.

Furthermore, the expansion of vessel fleets within maritime and shipping businesses contributes significantly to the increased demand for Chartering Managers. With a larger fleet comes greater demands on the commercial front, including negotiating contracts, optimising voyage plans, and ensuring the efficient utilisation of vessel assets. Chartering Managers play a pivotal role in overseeing these activities, ensuring smooth operations, and maximising profitability.

In addition to company growth and fleet expansion, the allure of competitive compensation packages is driving the movement of Chartering Managers within the industry. Professionals in this role are attracted to opportunities that offer not only career advancement but also attractive remuneration and benefits. As such, businesses seeking to attract top talent must offer compelling compensation packages to remain competitive in the market.

Overall, the demand for Chartering Managers in Singapore's maritime sector reflects the industry's dynamism and growth. As businesses strive to optimise their commercial operations and navigate the complexities of the maritime market, Chartering Managers play a crucial role in driving efficiency, profitability, and sustainable growth.

Environmental, Social and Governance Hires

As maritime heads closer towards the industry’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the pressure has been on business leaders to develop their understanding and plan out how they will make it happen.

In a recent survey, we shared that improving knowledge across decarbonisation, green technology, ESG, and alternative fuels was the top knowledge area that senior executives wanted to improve. This knowledge also featured at the top when we asked executives what they believed they would need more of in their teams over the next two years.

The industry’s dedication to its goal has been echoed across many maritime events in Singapore this year. “The key themes addressed at events and conferences and leading the conversations have been decarbonisation, green technology, alternative fuels, and digitalisation,” says Agatiello.

Over the last six months, some businesses in Singapore are making their first, second, third, and even fourth hires across ESG to bolster their knowledge and activities. Businesses are actively investing in this talent, and I believe we will see more to come.

It is easy to understand why these people are in demand. “Hiring ESG professionals helps ensure compliance with regulations, provides a competitive advantage in the marketplace, and positions businesses for long-term success. ESG initiatives lead to innovation, operational efficiency, and social responsibility, benefiting both businesses and the communities they serve.”

The increase in focus on ESG hires is a positive response to a changing business landscape in maritime, where sustainability, ethical practices, and social responsibility are integral components of long-term success.

ESG Hires - Top People in Demand in Maritime and Shipping in Singapore - Faststream Recruitment


Maritime businesses in Singapore are increasingly hiring for C-suite level positions due to several key factors.

“While many people have been in their roles for quite some time, there is a growing recognition of the need for fresh perspectives and new thinking to drive innovation and adapt to changing market dynamics. This is particularly relevant in the context of restructuring and mergers and acquisitions, where there is a need to freshen things up by bringing cultures together and infusing innovative ideas,” says Agatiello.

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of change in the maritime and shipping sectors, prompting businesses to reevaluate their leadership teams and strategies. This has involved bringing in new directors and C-suite executives who can inject energy, creativity, and a fresh perspective into the business.

Additionally, the maritime and shipping sectors are experiencing significant growth and expansion, with businesses pursuing new acquisitions and entering new markets. This growth presents both opportunities and challenges, requiring C-suite leaders who can navigate complex business environments, drive strategic initiatives, and foster innovation.

As a result, there's a growing demand for C-suite executives who are not only experienced and knowledgeable but also eager to take on new challenges and drive change.” Agatiello states.

C-Suite - Top People in Demand in Maritime and Shipping in Singapore - Faststream Recruitment

Final thoughts

As Singapore continues in its position as a leading maritime hub, the demand for skilled professionals across all sectors is expected to remain robust. Businesses must adapt their recruitment strategies to attract and retain top talent, offering competitive compensation packages and fostering environments conducive to professional growth and innovation. By doing so, they can ensure continued success and sustainability in the dynamic maritime landscape of Singapore.

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