Whatever the industry, the challenges for HR professionals remain the same: how to attract the best talent, how to provide training which adds genuine value, and how to ensure high levels of staff retention.
The maritime industry needs to improve to prevent a manpower crisis given these predictions:
- The BIMCO/ICS Manpower Report predicts a deficit of 147,500 officers by 2025
- The Ocean Policy Research Foundation sees a shortfall of 364,000 seafarers by 2050
Some may dismiss these as too distant, noting the current crew surplus. There is also talks on automation that could reduce the number of crews. And a long debate is expected, prolonging the timeframe of implementation.
But one thing is absolutely certain: that the demand for container transportation is set to increase, and with it – at least in the short term – the demand for crew members.
Fortunately, the crewing industry could meet the rising demand with the shift in crew supply from traditional maritime nations of Europe, Japan and North America, and towards emerging economies like China, the Philippines and Indonesia.
These Asian nations have populations and growing commercial clout, with room for improvement on their utilization of human resources. Multicultural and multilingual crew are now the trend; except poor communication aboard means crew retention is often lower than optimal. Increased cultural awareness of shipowners, recruiters and operators could boost retention, making the maritime industry a more attractive sell to such developing economies.
Another promising opportunity for crewing professionals is Internet connectivity for vessels at sea. Extended separation from friends and loved ones has long been a source of dissatisfaction for seafarers. Combined with long hours and irregular sleeping patterns make poor mental health a genuine concern for crew safety and retention.
At present, only 6% of seafarers have sufficiently fast Internet connections to make video calls home to their families, but this figure is rising. With continued investment in their digital infrastructure, shipping companies may see one of the main barriers to an effective crewing strategy lifted. However, this investment will have to be matched by enhancements in cyber security to allay fears of greater vulnerability to online threats.
Taking place in Manila on November 6-8, CrewConnect Global brings over 600 international crewing professionals and 80 expert speakers to discuss issues of interest with detailed case studies, engaging industry response panels, inspiring keynote addresses.
Focus include the impact of digital disruption, managing crew claims, crew retention & advancement, cyber security and safety at sea. This year includes the CruiseConnect Summit, a one-day event devoted to the challenges of crewing in the cruise sector.
Speakers for CrewConnect Global include:
- John Adams, Managing Director-Teekay Shipping, Chairman-Bahamas Shipowners’ Association
- Iris Baguilat, Pres.-Döhle Seafront Crewing
- Alex Verchez, Pres. and Managing Director-Teekay Shipping-Phil
- Kate Adamson, CEO-Futurenautics
- John Gahnstrom, Senior Marine Manager-INTERTANKO
- Gerardo Borromeo, VP-Filipino Shipowners Association