Taking place in Manila, Philippines, the CrewConnect Global will bring together international crewing professionals and expert speakers to discuss about crew demand, supply issues and other topics, such as the impact of digital disruption, managing crew claims, crew retention& advancement, cyber security and safety at sea. At the event, to be held on 6-8 November, the marine HR community’s leading experts will assess the current state of the industry and its readiness to meet the demands of the future.
As explained, the challenges for HR professionals remain the same: how to attract the best talent, how to provide training which adds genuine value, and how to ensure high levels of staff retention. Judging by two recent predictions, one from the BIMCO/ICS Manpower report predicting a deficit of 147,500 officers by 2025, the other by the Ocean Policy Research Foundation predicting a shortfall of 364,000 seafarers by 2050, the maritime industry needs to improve its performance on each of these measures if a manpower crisis is to be averted.
What makes these countries such promising prospects is not only their large populations and growing commercial clout, but the room for improvement that exists in the way that their human resources are currently being utilised. Multiculturally and multilingually crewed vessels are now the status quo, but poor communication aboard these ships means that crew retention is often lower than optimal.
Another promising opportunity for crewing professionals comes in the form of improving internet connectivity for vessels at sea. Extended periods of separation from friends and loved ones has long been a source of dissatisfaction for seafarers, and has combined with long hours and irregular sleeping patterns to make poor mental health a genuine concern for crew safety and retention. At present only 6% of seafarers have sufficiently fast internet connections to make video calls home to their families, but this figure is rising. With continued investment in their digital infrastructure, shipping companies may see one of the main barriers to an effective crewing strategy lifted. However, this investment will have to be matched by enhancements in cyber security if fears of greater vulnerability to online threats are to be assuaged.