Future demand of maritime professionals in the maritime and port industry

This output provides input to the strategies to attract young people to the shipping industry and to also create an improved perception of shipping in society. The interrelation between perceptions of employees and roles of human capital resources today gives important insight in the potential future demand for and availability of maritime professionals.

The methods used to study the situation on board, the perceptions of seafarers and the needs for future skills in the maritime industry are a field study and a survey.

In general, studies and previous research show that it is unclear if there are enough future workers available or not. This is problematic when giving guidance to policy makers on issues that must be addressed. However, the studies give adequate input to guide stakeholders in a quest for improving the industry’s image and increasing the retention of personnel already there.

Administrative work has increased considerably on board, partly as an effect of increased focus on safety and security. The data shows that some skills are missing and some are desired, and that a degree of flexibility and job sharing seems to be perceived as a positive thing. The SWOT plainly shows that most of the answers are about the work place, work environment issues and working conditions.

There is still a need for traditional seafarer skills, but also a requirement for human element and non-technical skills, cross-cultural management and communication. The data also points to a need for new competences both at STCW level and above. These competences have arisen due to changes, such as an increase in administrative tasks due to new regulations and policies and changes in company ownership. There are also demands which arise due to the advancement in IT and technology. There are however, also national differences in the preferred competences.

There is a lack of knowledge about the different sectors in the industry amongst the respondents. This would make it easier for job transition if there is more knowledge of what these sectors do. Close attention must be paid to the issues below as policy support may be needed:  Loneliness, isolation (seafarers mainly), working conditions (all), and communication (all). Such policy measures will improve the industry’s image and attractiveness, and thus contribute to the actions needed in order to recruit and retain maritime employees.

Overall the study points to deficiencies on several levels according to a resource based view. Firstly, there is a lack of some human capital resources in the industry, and the level of the existing capital is in need of a competence lift. Secondly, the maritime industry will continue to fail to recruit if it doesn’t improve its social capital – the conditions aboard and conditions for seafarers to avoid social isolation must be addressed. Lastly, the organisational capital of the industry can be better utilised if the people who use it are adequately trained.

Finally there is a need to work with attitudinal change within the industry in regard to the perception of human capital from a resource based view. This could require new policies in order to enhance this change; however, the initiative must be planned strategically. There are studies that have been effectively carried out in the maritime industry and other industries that can be used to guide this planning. Part and parcel of this initiative is the KNOWME career path development concept. It is advised that this concept be further developed in order to incorporate this in the strategic planning.

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