Skilled seafarers are available in the job market but may need to be coaxed into the positions on offer through longer-term contracts, according to a new survey.
Worldwide Recruitment Solutions (WRS) analysed 5,300 responses from job seekers and found the maritime industry has plenty of experienced professionals.
In its survey of seafarers seeking work as bridge crew, engineers, deck crew, and divers, WRS found that 30% of respondents had more than 15 years’ experience, and 12% had worked in their field for more than 25 years.
Sam Houghton, head of the company’s marine division, said: “It’s encouraging to see that 12% of our marine candidates have such a wealth of experience. However, with the well-publicised skills shortage in this industry, it will be interesting to see an equivalent statistic in future years.”
WRS marketing manager Emma Mills told IHS Maritime that the “skills are there” but potential candidates may be unwilling to work in the regions where their skills are in demand.
In her view, the sector needs to “get people to look further afield for recruiting”, although a “glut of people with 15-years-plus experience… might not be willing to re-locate for long periods of time”.
But the survey also suggested seafarers are looking for longer-term employment. About 55% of respondents stated a preference for permanent employment, while only 20% favoured contract work.
The reality for seafarers is the opposite: just 26% of seafarers have permanent positions and nearly 58% are hired on contract.
Another solution would be to increase pay. Over 95% of respondents listed pay/day rate as their top priority, followed by leave time (90%), and career progression (87%). Benefits and facilities, including accommodation, were the next most sought after must-haves for the job seekers surveyed.
But Mills said the main message WRS took from the survey was the need for longer-term roles.
“Within the industry, there is a requirement by candidates for more permanent opportunities,” she said.
“It has made us realise that there is a lot of experience out there and it’s just making sure that that is utilised by the industry.”
The survey also revealed the sector’s low gender diversity – with 99% of respondents being male – behind both mining (94%) and oil and gas (98%) in other WRS surveys.
“These are male-dominated industries,” said Mills.
Source: IHS Maritime 360
19th November 2014