Naval Architecture Employment Report

Read the Naval Architecture Employment Report​

Faststream Recruitment conducted an extensive, global survey and connected with thousands of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers to gain a unique insight into their views, opinions, and feelings about the future of employment. This report aims to uncover the good and bad of the profession, looking at it from an employee’s point of view.


The Naval Architecture Employment Survey 2022 was open for four weeks between June and July 2022.

The survey was designed for Naval Architects across all levels of experience and locations. All respondents answered the survey questions anonymously online using Survey Monkey, an industry-leading survey platform. Respondents were asked 30 questions each and all responses were held in the strictest of confidence. No answers were linked to any personal data that could identify an individual.

The survey was promoted using the following activities: Faststream Recruitment website, Faststream email communications and Faststream social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

The responses from the survey were analysed to identify the most important trends and points of interest in the research. Our experts have reviewed the data to ensure it reflects the realities of the local markets as well as global trends.

All salary information was provided directly from the respondents.

This report was created internally by the Faststream Recruitment leadership team.

All change with Naval Architects

Retention and the attraction of new talent are a priority for many businesses but our survey revealed that there is still work to do to achieve this goal. Over 70% of Naval Architects confided that they are planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months. An increase since our 2021 global survey, where just over half were planning to change jobs. Over 80% would also relocate to another country for a new opportunity.

Why are we witnessing such a significant increase in job-seeking this year? The top motivations were better salary and benefits (34%), career progression (30%), and better work-life balance (21%). This is a significant shift since our 2021 survey, where career progression was rated top.

“With experienced professionals in high demand, Naval Architects know their worth. Retaining employees is a key priority for businesses at present and offering competitive salaries and benefits, flexibility, and progression opportunities will be a huge driving factor in this.”

What about the 28% of respondents who are not planning to change jobs (only 1% were retiring) in the next 12 months? The top motivations to stay put were work-life balance (35%), followed by company culture and values (18%), and salary and benefits (16%).

Noteworthy was that 74% of Naval Architects stated that a loyalty or financial incentive would encourage them to stay in their job for longer. However, 73% of respondents stated that their employer does not offer a loyalty bonus or financial incentive directly linked to their length of service. If loyalty bonuses and financial incentives have the potential to increase retention, we were surprised that so few employers offered them.

A new shift in prioritisation of employee benefits

In 2022, bonus (61%), private medical (44%), and flexi-time (38%) lead the way as the three most important benefits. Flexi-time was the most important benefit in 2021 and remains integral today. We were interested to see that bonuses have become the priority, particularly as salary and benefits were also the top reason for changing jobs this year.

Although financial reward seems to be a key priority for Naval Architects, work-life balance was more important to 77% of Naval Architects than salary when we asked them to choose. What does work-life balance mean to Naval Architects? The top answers were flexible working hours (79%), sufficient holiday entitlement (57%) and working from home (52%).

Are employers offering enough employee benefits? 62% of respondents said no. Over half stated that since the COVID-19 pandemic, their desire for benefits had changed. A Naval Architect in the Asia-Pacific reemphasised this, “I have never thought of working from home but after COVID, I feel working from home provides us with better life balance.”

Reward in Naval Architecture

Will we see reward and benefits for Naval Architects increasing, decreasing, or staying the same over the next two years? 57% of respondents stated they saw it either staying the same or decreasing. Failing to increase reward and benefits could negatively impact businesses as the majority of Naval Architects stated they will change jobs this year for this very reason.

We asked Naval Architects when they had last received a pay rise. 29% of respondents stated that they had never had a pay rise in their tenure with their employer. We found that Naval Architects who had never received a pay rise were also more likely to be planning to change jobs in the next 12 months at 77%.

Pay rises can play an important part in an employee feeling valued. As well as increased productivity, job satisfaction, commitment, motivation, loyalty and happiness at work. The increasing concerns over the cost of living are also putting the pressure on.

Where in the world a Naval Architect was based impacted the likelihood of receiving a pay rise. Those working in the Americas and the UK were the most likely to have received a pay rise in their tenure with their employer at 87% and 83% respectively. Naval Architects working in the Middle East and Africa (23%) and Asia-Pacific (63%) were the least likely.

When we asked Naval Architects if they felt their employer was invested in them, for those that agreed that they were, over 50% said that regular pay rises proved this point.

So what exactly does a good pay rise look like? When we delved deeper into the exact numbers, the majority of Naval Architects, 79%, had received a pay rise of less than 10%, with just 9% overall receiving a pay rise of 20% or more.

Again, the location of a Naval Architect affected the percentage of a pay rise. Naval Architects working in the UK were the most likely to have received a pay rise of under 5% with 51% responding this way. They were also the least likely to have received a pay rise of over 20% with just 4% stating this as their pay rise. Respondents working in Europe and the Americas were the most likely to have received a pay rise of 10% or more at 25%.

Looking at the number of years of post-graduate experience a Naval Architect had proved interesting. One third of Naval Architects with under two years of post-graduate experience had received a pay rise of over 10%. We did not see those with more experience being more likely to receive larger pay rises. ​

Spotlight on UK Naval Architect Salaries

Compensation plays an important part in the successful attraction, retention, and engagement of talent. Getting your compensation structures right is magnified in a highly competitive skill short market and is essential if you want to retain staff and remain competitive, let alone grow.

This unique survey of salaries taken from Naval Architects working in the UK can help determine whether your current salary or compensation structures measure up with the wider market.

Naval Architects were asked to state their total compensation earnt last year. The table below portrays the interquartile range* of salaries on offer based on the number of years of post-graduate experience (PGE), creating this year’s first overview of UK Naval Architect salaries.

Table: Naval Architect salaries by years of post-graduate experience
Naval Architect Salaries - UK - Faststream Recruitment

* The interquartile range portrays the middle 50% of values when ordered from lowest to highest

If we compare the salaries on offer to qualified Naval Architects against equivalent roles within the same businesses, for example, Sales, Product Management, Software Engineering, or Data Science, the salaries differ greatly. For example, a similar survey we conducted within Data Science indicated that Data Scientists with three to five years of post-graduate experience are earning in the region of £70,000 to £75,000 per annum. This is compared with Naval Architects earning £36,000 to £43,000 per annum.

If we compared a Software Engineer with six to ten years of post-graduate experience to a Naval Architect with equivalent experience, Software Engineers are earning in the region of £90,000 - £95,000 per annum versus Naval Architects earning £46,000 to £51,000 per annum.

This is quite alarming when you think that these staff members are sitting in the same offices, working the same hours and contributing to the same business goals. They also need the same number of years at university. We have to question why a person starting out in their career might choose a career in Naval Architecture when the compensation on offer does not come close to what their counterparts are earning.

We predict that there will need to be a gradual shift upward in Naval Architect salaries to remain competitive against emerging skills and disciplines, and increasingly diverse workforces.

Developing and investing in your people can make you stand out as an employer of choice

Career progression and development remain important to Naval Architects. 87% stated that they were either very important or important to them. However, 47% of respondents said that they did not receive regular progression or development reviews with their employer.

Less than half of the Naval Architects we surveyed felt their employer invested in them. We asked those who felt their employer was investing in them what the key indicators were. They cited the opportunity to manage projects, training and continuous professional development, receiving constructive feedback and the opportunity to manage people.

Company culture, values and D&I have never been more paramount

Company culture and values have widely become more important across the globe. It is a key attraction factor and helps businesses with retention and growth. Expectedly, 70% of respondents agreed that they would not take a job with a company if they did not align with their values. We have never conducted a survey where company culture and values have been so prevalent in retention and attraction.

Business purpose is also important. 87% of respondents agreed that the purpose of an employer matters to them.

With equality, diversity and inclusion, such an important part of retention and attraction as well as a global issue, we were shocked that when we asked respondents if their employer had an equality, diversity and inclusion statement, 25% of respondents said no and a further 25% did not know.

Are employers doing enough to address equality, diversity, and inclusion? 67% of Naval Architects agreed that they were, but this still highlights a significant gap. 88% of Naval Architects also said that equality, diversity, and inclusion were either very important or important to them, an increase from 82% last year.

“Company culture and people are the foundations of any business. It has never been more crucial for businesses to address their culture and values and provide a safe and inclusive working environment.”

Naval Architects want more flexibility

With work-life balance a high priority for Naval Architects, the debate around working styles continues. The pandemic created a shift from traditional office to remote working. Since our last survey, we have seen another change. More respondents this year stated that they were working in a hybrid style, a mix between office working and remote working (45%). Many have gone back to the office full-time (42%), which is almost double the percentage of Naval Architects in 2021.

Naval Architects working remotely full-time has also decreased tremendously since 2021 from 44% in 2021 to 13% today.

With businesses getting back to normality, an increase in office working is inevitable but how do Naval Architects want to work? Only 16% want to work in the office full time, whilst 14% want to work remotely and 70% in a hybrid style.

One third of respondents told us that their employer did not offer any type of remote work, whether on a part-time or full-time basis. Do Naval Architects think all businesses should offer remote working? 62% agreed that they should. 36% would even turn down a job offer if they did not offer it and almost half would do the same if they did not offer flexible working hours.

“It is integral that businesses recognise the demands for flexible hours and remote working. Work-life balance has become increasingly important. Hybrid working and flexibility are great solutions to this.”

In our fifth year of the Naval Architecture Employment Survey, we want to say a big thank you to all the Naval Architects and Marine Engineers who have taken part. We feel honoured to be able to produce and share this report with the maritime community. We take our responsibility very seriously to share the thoughts, feelings, and realities people face with the wider sector.

We hope that you find this report as thought-provoking and interesting, as it was to research, analyse and create.

Discuss the report

If you would like to discuss any of the findings or topics, please contact:

  • Mark Charman, CEO & Founder

  • Adam Graves, Director of Marine and Energy- Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas

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

Find out more about our Naval Architecture Recruitment Services

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