Career advice has been described as the “missing link” for seafaring professions, said speakers at London International Shipping Week on 7 September.
According to them, this lack could hurt the health of national maritime hubs, which need seafarers to come ashore to maintain them.
Recruiters said that seafarers still report an absence of professional career advice when it comes to transitioning from ship to shore.
“The majority of seafarers tend to get advice from their family or friends,” said Phil Parry, chairman of shore-based shipping recruitment, executive search and HR consulting firm, Spinnaker Global.
However, he said that this could lead people off on the wrong track, and that professional advice is recommended for the “reality check” it provides seafarers.
Also speaking at Nautilus International’s meeting Shore Enough? Meeting the Demand for Maritime Professionals, Susan Thomson, marine and projects superintendent at BP Shipping Ltd, explained how BP assists its crew members to transition to shore-side careers via its Accelerated Development Programme.
Related news:IMO backs fair treatment training
She said a frequent conversation BP officers have with junior seafarers is to explain the complex nature of shore-side career development compared with career progression on board ship.
She said, “At sea it’s really straight forward, you work your way up the ranks, you become master or a chief engineer; it’s very systematic, and that’s kind of how we like it as seafarers – it’s organised and people tell you what to do and you know where you stand.
“But to manage your career you have to think more than that: you have to think about where you want to be, what you want to do. You almost have to think: at what age do I want to retire, and what do I want to have achieved by the time I get there? And then: how am I going to get there?”
Financial management is another area where seafarers need advice, said Parry.
He said that seafarers often “misunderstand” the difference in salary that they will experience when they transition from tax-free seafarer earnings to taxed shore-side work. He said it could amount to a shortfall of around GBP20,000 (USD30,800) a year for a British seafarer.
“The numbers vary, but a significant drop. One of the biggest pieces of advice to give to a seafarer is: bear in mind that for 10-15 years you are going to be earning more than you will for the 10 years after that. So for God’s sake save it up, don’t throw it away. Use it to get your mortgage and a pension, because when you come ashore it’s going to be a lot harder,” said Parry, adding: “This is practical advice that I think young seafarers don’t get.”