Are you a small to medium sized shipowner or ship manager who is feeling the effects of a lack of top digital and technical talent in the maritime industry? This is the root of stress and a cause for worry in many sectors and that includes the shipping industry. With its wealth of shore based maritime jobs and jobs at sea, we are increasingly seeing the need for more technically minded employees.
Indeed, this increase in the need for tech savvy people has meant that many smaller companies are struggling to attract employees and contractors who possess the latest technical skills. But there are a number of reasons for this, so in this post we thought we’d take a look at some of them and also consider how to address the lack of techie talent in the maritime industry.
One of the big reasons is that candidates with technical and digital skills are often millennials - and these workers are prone to demanding a different relationship with their potential employers than the shore based staff and seafarers who have gone before them.
On the whole, millennials like tech. They use it and they understand how it can make both life in general and life at work easier. But with the maritime industry often being seen as less than cutting edge, how can we start changing the future to tempt a newer wave of recruits through the doors?
How to attract tech talent in the maritime industry
The problem is that not only are shipping companies facing issues when it comes to competing with other industries in recruiting digitally clued up talent, they’re also having problems retaining any that they do manage to employ. So how can recruitment in the maritime industry evolve to make jobs at sea and in jobs in ports and shipping offices seem like an attractive and viable career choice?
Why the maritime industry needs technical people
Just look at the statistics which state that over the last 12 months and in the majority of the main maritime sectors 24% of new hires (as tracked by LinkedIn) were classified as 'technical recruits'.
But take a closer look at that data and it shows that the shipping industry is only attracting a tiny percentage of the top technical talent of other industries for vacant jobs at sea.
And digitization is set to be a huge part of shipping, moving forwards. Safety at sea, improved logistics processes, more streamlined maritime recruitment and crew management, tracking shipments in real time, and being able to predict maintenance will all benefit the industry massively.
But who is going to be there to develop, code, implement, operate and troubleshoot the systems that make all of that possible?
Attracting Generation Z in the maritime industry
It all boils down to the fact that millennials and Generation Z have higher expectations when it comes to the merging of technology with their working lives. They expect things to be made easier by technology and view a reliance on old fashioned systems that involve multiple files and reams of paperwork as outdated and unnecessary.
And it’s fair enough: after all this is the generation that has grown up with computers, smartphones, anywhere-anytime-connectivity and social media. They simply can’t understand why the maritime industry would want to cling on to its traditionalist methods and systems.
And you can say what you like about millennials and Gen Z but if the shipping industry wants to attract ambitious and demanding candidates from these demographics then it’s going to need to learn how to engage with them.
This wave of new recruits is more inclined to embrace new trends and they’re more likely to look for a new position online or by using a maritime recruitment mobile app than previous generations. They are also going to expect a far more responsive and streamlined application and hiring process.
In a nutshell, the shipping industry needs to keep up if it is to attract younger and more forward thinking people.
Let’s take Martide's mobile app for seafarers as an example. It is easy to use, free to download from Google Play or the App Store and helps seafarers and shipping companies connect to fill vacant jobs at sea anytime, anywhere. It also makes it far easier for seamen and women to apply for jobs which in turn makes it far less likely that they’ll drop out halfway through the process, in effect ghosting you.
Changing the future of recruitment: Is it all about image?
These are image conscious times we’re living in and insiders in the industry have suggested that the maritime industry needs to work on its sex appeal for new, digital-savvy recruits by making it appear more high-tech and less steeped in tradition.
For that to happen it would seem that attitudes need to shift if we're to start changing the future.
Another key factor in making this happen, and increasing the amount of technically skilled contractors and employees in the workforce is for ship owners and managers to start thinking about up-skilling their existing shore-based or senior people through training and education.
How can Martide help your shipping company move forward?
Are you a shipowner or ship manager (or even a manning agent) looking for a better, easier way to run your maritime recruitment drive and manage your crews more efficiently? Would your company benefit from using an Applicant Tracking System that makes it easier to source and track the candidates who apply for your open jobs at sea?
Are you tired of losing candidates halfway through the recruitment process and of dealing with piles of paperwork? Do you find manually managing crew change over dates stressful and time consuming?
Would you like access to a global candidate talent pool to source qualified recruits from? How great would it be to be confident that your shipping company or manning agency has a great image and is attracting top talent because it runs on up-to-date and sleek systems?
When you implement Martide’s maritime recruitment and crewing system software solution you’ll have a greater choice of candidates, be able to track your maritime recruitment process, manage interviews, collaborate with your teams, and, crucially, you’ll be far more likely to attract more technically minded applicants who will be impressed by your modern, streamlined way of thinking and doing.
Talk to Martide today and let us help your shipping company attract a higher caliber of candidate.
This blog post was originally published on May 26th 2019 and updated on August 11th 2020.