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Report: 50 pct of shipping employees are looking for a job

One of the world's largest maritime recruitment companies has surveyed 2,000 shipping employees about their job plans for this year, and about half of respondents expect to change jobs. A majority do not feel that their current employers offer good enough career opportunities.

Photo: Faststream Recruitment Group

SINGAPORE

Two-three years and then keep on moving!

This seems to be the thought process in the shipping industry in Asia when planning a career, explains CEO Mark Charman of Faststream Recruitment Group, a headhunting firm that specializes in the maritime sector:

"Especially here in Asia we see a mentality in which candidates feel that it is necessary to change jobs outside of the organization in order to achieve the promotion or the advancement needed to climb the ladder," Charman says, adding:

"I think that this is how they view it - a career ladder that one must climb as fast possible."

Shifting job market

Faststream asked 2,000 employees in the shipping industry in Singapore and Hong Kong about their career plans for 2016, and 48 percent of respondents plan to leave their current place of employment. 92 percent are already actively seeking new jobs.

"The market place is extremely active here in Asia. We get 12,000 applications a month, and with the exception of offshore, there is no sector that really makes an exception," Charman explains and continues:

"In other industries you would see fewer candidates when times are tough, because people - to use a cliché - would more quickly seek shelter during a storm. In other words: they would typically stay at the job in order to avoid being discarded from the next place based on a principle of "last to come, first to leave"- But we don't see that in Asia," the CEO says, who with his 100 employees distributed around offices in Europe, North America and Asia, makes 1,500 job matches in the shipping industry every year.

"98 percent of the active job seekers are looking for a new job in another organization. I don't think that Asians are less loyal, but there is a cultural difference here. The job market in Asia changes more quickly and people do not stay at a job as long as they do in Europe for instance," Charman says, while he points to the obvious numbers from the recently released survey.

Higher wages and quick promotion

The surveyed employees highlight career development as the primary cause for seeking a new job. And 88 percent of them, which have already claimed to be active, do not think that their current employer can offer them a better job. This surprises Charman:

"As I see it, there are only a very few organizations in the maritime sector which do not want to facilitate career development. So I don't think this is the real problem. But the question is whether their offer matches what the employees want?," he asks himself, returning to the career ladder:

"I don't think that career development here is about professional growth, but about being promoted. As I said, they see the job as a step on the ladder - they get the job, improve their skills, knowledge and experience, but to get higher wages and be promoted, they change place of employment."

The salary plays a greater part in this region than Faststream sees in other places around the world. More than half of the surveyed employees expect a raise in wages this year, Charman highlights, adding that this does not fit very well with the economic reality of the industry:

"Most companies are currently very cautious with expenses - yet 73 percent of those who expect a raise say that they will leave the place of employment if they cannot obtain a better salary."

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