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Reasons Why You Should Hire a Head of Talent in Maritime Recruitment

Reasons Why You Should Hire a Head of Talent in Maritime Recruitment

Eve Jones

Let's talk maritime recruitment: can your small to medium sized shipping company afford to operate without a Head of Talent? Considering that there is a current skills shortage in the maritime industry, the answer may well be: “No, it can’t.” Talent acquisition is one of the most vital aspects of your organization if you want to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

And as a busy shipowner or manager chances are you need someone to take care of hiring your people for you.

Why you should hire a Head of Talent in maritime recruitment

Forget for a moment your business model, your marketing budget and even your service offering. If you don’t have a core of talented people working for you, either in your jobs at sea or your shore based maritime jobs, you’re not giving your company the best chance of survival. You're operating in a global marketplace and the sheer amount of competition from other shipping companies means you need to create a world-class team to keep up.

men running in athletics track race

So how do you achieve that? By hiring a Head of Talent. Larger shipping companies may want to create a brand new position, while others may prefer to integrate talent management functions within the HR Manager’s role. However you do it, there are a number of traits that you should be looking for in that person, whether they’re a new recruit or an existing employee whose role you are expanding.

Areas your Head of Talent should excel in:

Business Strategy

It’s all very well hiring accomplished employees but your Head of Talent needs to know how to channel their skills within the framework of your business and the maritime industry itself. They need to be a strategist. They need to be able to make decisions that benefit your organization while getting the most out of talented staff or crew members. However they also need to do that while taking into consideration factors such as your budget, your business model and your company culture and ethos.

So how do you know that you’ve found the right person when interviewing for a Head of Talent? To gauge a candidate’s level of strategic thinking, ask them to evaluate your shipping company’s existing talent function. Take note of the questions they ask you: if they have insightful queries concerning staff turnover or attrition, this is a sign that they’re thinking of candidate recruitment in terms of a financial framework.

man in suit at desk putting coins into a piggy bank

Process Design

A Head of Talent’s role isn’t just about recruitment, it’s also about operations. As such one of the jobs allocated to your shipping company’s newest hire should be to audit and streamline existing processes and design new ones if need be. In the shipping industry procedures are crucial and it is vital that all the separate parts, functions and aspects of your business are running smoothly and in sync with each other. That means you need a Head of Talent who knows how to create systems or procedures from scratch.

However, you need to ensure that they have proven results in this area. You absolutely don’t want to hire someone who implements procedures for procedures’ sake. You need agility, not bureaucracy - that will only stifle the new talent that you do bring onboard, whether that’s on a vessel or ashore. You need processes to work for the business not to create resentment from staff and certainly not to quash any creativity or excellence that exists within your workforce.

Diplomacy & Mediation

You’ve hired a Head of Talent to boost productivity and growth through the acquisition of talented crew members and shore based staff. To increase your shipping company’s momentum. Despite this you may meet some initial resistance from certain ship managers, stakeholders, or your C-suite. Your Head of Talent has been hired to effect change - by making changes. And as we all know, change doesn’t always go down particularly well with some people!

orange neon sign saying change

What this means is that you need your Head of Talent to possess the mindset of a ship owner or manager. They need to be a true advocate for your maritime company. And they need the ability, tenacity and patience to be able to explain their thought processes and reasoning. You don’t want someone who is hellbent on forcing change regardless of anyone else’s opinion, but you don’t want someone who is going to be a pushover in the face of resistance either.

Your ideal person will be confident yet respectful. Someone who can use collaboration to persuade coworkers to adopt a winning idea that has been conceived for the greater good. And who can refrain from crowing “I told you so!” when they turn out to be right!

Research & Development

One thing you need to be aware of is that it is highly unlikely that you’ll see results overnight. Maritime recruitment is niche and stressful at the best of times. Your Head of Talent has a lot of groundwork to do and processes to design and build before they can embark on a recruitment spree!

the words work in progress hand painted on window

This also means that they need to take their time to thoroughly understand your business before they get started placing top people in your jobs at sea. Only then can they begin to design a solid and sustainable structure for hiring and growth. Therefore, exercising a little patience - approximately three months' worth - will be needed to give your Head of Talent a fair shot at achieving their objectives.

How Martide can help your maritime recruitment drive


At Martide we help shipowners and managers find the right crew members for their fleet through our unique maritime recruitment solution. We work with a global pool of talented seafarers, consistently matching the right person to the right rank and vessel.

If you have vacant seafarer jobs to fill and you’re struggling to find the right candidates, register an account with us today. We can help!