Like a number of industries, the shipping industry is facing a serious skills gap and therefore a challenge in filling jobs at sea. Not only are seafarers expected to be more tech savvy, but the maritime technology sector is also undergoing a demand for top talent in coding, development and Artificial Intelligence.
But the million dollar question is - where are the people to fill those needs?
As the saying goes, like attracts like, and that means that as a shipowner, ship manager or manning agent, if you want to attract the best and brightest of technically adept seafarers and employees for your shore based maritime jobs, you need to adopt a more technically minded attitude.
Why you should embrace technology to fill your jobs at sea
Adapting to new systems can always be daunting - especially if technology or software that you haven’t used before is involved.
But the fact is, with 90 percent of the world’s goods being transported by sea, the reliance on the maritime industry, and its vessels and seafarers isn't going anywhere.
But as we mentioned briefly above, if the role of the seafarer is changing and our world is becoming increasingly digitized, just as the tech sector is requiring more from its recruits than knowing the rudiments of IT and how to reboot a server, so too is the maritime industry expecting more from its people - both those at sea working in seafarer jobs, and those based in jobs in ports and shipping offices.
The seafarer’s skill set is changing
Not only are shipowners and managers expecting today’s seamen to have competencies in traditional aspects of seafarer jobs, but they are now requiring a greater level of maritime technology know-how too.
And this is what is leading to challenges within maritime recruitment.
Just like our offices, warehouses and factories, digital technology is invading life aboard our ships, as well the bases of their onshore support teams.
Future technologies are taking over our homes and workplaces and now smart maritime technology is having a huge effect on shipping companies and seafarers and the responsibilities that their jobs at sea now entail.
And that means that new ways of training seafarers need to be considered.
Putting gaming skills to good use
One way of upping your game if you’re a shipowner or manager who is looking to implement a more modern approach to training, and one that many new recruits may take enjoyment from, is the use of computer games in teaching navigation skills.
This is just one thoroughly modern way that future technologies have affected the training of new seafarers.
Learning to guide huge ships through hectic shipping channels and into bustling ports via a “game” may have the more traditional seafarers of yore turning in their graves, but these days it provides valuable experience for future crew members.
And of course it is a lot safer to train seamen using virtual or augmented reality and simulators than it is heading out onto the ocean for some ‘in real life’ training.
Can simulator training take the place of the real thing? Maybe not but it will provide young cadets or anyone learning to use new equipment with a solid grounding.
Innovation is an advantage - not a burden
Technology isn’t going anywhere, in any working environment, and it is seen by many to be giving the maritime sector the shot of vitality it needs to retain and boost its efficiency.
But in order to keep up with the changes the industry needs forward thinking, and more importantly, qualified seafarers to handle that thinking and the ensuing changes.
An example? Just think how much easier communication would be between crew and shore staff if they were using digital technology and software solutions to stay connected.
How maritime technology can help your shipping company
Many of us automatically fear the words ‘evolution’, ‘change’ or 'future technologies'. We like things to stay the way we’re used to.
But by empowering seafarers with the digital skills they need to handle the technological aspects of their jobs at sea, automating boring tasks and allowing them to focus on the core of their role can only be a good thing - for the shipping company, your crew and your clients.
Shipping companies who embrace life in the digital age will find that efficiency - and their bottom line - is improved when they harness the power of technology.
Another way you can improve your operations through the use of tech is to give your current systems and processes an overhaul.
If you’re still doing tasks manually, whether that’s maritime recruitment, changeover dates and crew management, or planning minimum safe manning and wage scales, you might want to consider upgrading your methods.
For example, using a crewing system to plan, run and manage your crews or implementing maritime recruitment software to find, track and hire applicants will make day to life in the office so much easier.
And let’s face it, if you’re the owner or manager of a busy small to medium sized shipping company, you owe it to yourself and your staff to make your workplace a more efficient and inspiring place to be.
Technology can help in maritime recruitment
The very reason that Martide exists is because we knew there was a need in the maritime industry for a more advanced, intuitive, all-encompassing software solution.
It’s no word of a lie to say that we love technology and we’re firm believers in its ability to make life run more smoothly and cost-effectively. And that goes for filling your vacant seafarer jobs too.
If you're a shipowner or a ship manager we can help your maritime recruitment drive become more dynamic and successful through our Software as a Service solution.
Want to get your jobs at sea in front of qualified seafarers? We got you. Want to search for seamen in our global database of candidates? Not a problem. Need to find a more efficient way to track applicants and manage contract negotiations?
Surprise, surprise - we have you covered there too!
And best of all, our maritime recruitment and crew management software works with all other known legacy systems so implementing it won’t cause your existing set-up any issues.
Plus it’s easy to use and we’ll walk you through how to do that. We also provide ongoing support through our tech team and our dedicated support website.
Ready to get started? Let's talk.
This post was originally published on 20th February 2019 and updated on 21st July 2020.