Salaries are rising by at least 10% as the crew employment market tips in the favour of seafarers, according to a recent survey by Danica Crewing Specialists.
cross senior officer ranks salaries have increased some 10-15%, regardless of nationality, the survey shows, and the wage gap is narrowing between Filipino and Eastern European officers, while Indian senior officers on dry cargo vessels are receiving salaries 10% higher than their Eastern European counterparts.
Key findings include:
- Salaries are rising by at least 10% as the crew employment market tips in the favour of seafarers.
- Shortages are evident in certain ranks – with salaries rising sharply for these seafarers as a result.
- Seafarers are largely satisfied with a career at sea but strong competition remains from shore employment.
- There are still welfare issues evident, particularly in relation to salary non-payment and late relief. Increasing numbers of seafarers have access to mental health support and are finding this helpful.
Training is now delivered principally online. However, there is still a shortage of training in ‘soft skills’ such as leadership.
Announcing the 2023 survey results this week during the Crew Connect Global Conference in Manila, Philippines – where Danica recently opened its latest crewing office – Henrik Jensen, CEO of Danica Crewing Specialists, said: “These are all indications that the crew employment market has tipped to be in the seafarers’ favour.”
In the face of such strong competition for crew, owners must ensure their seafarers are treated well. Yet the Danica survey revealed that as many as 36% of the respondents, drawn from the worldwide crewing marketplace, claimed their salary was not paid on time – a rise of 7% since 2021 – with 8% saying they did not receive their salary in full. Fortunately the number of seafarers not being relieved on time has fallen to pre-pandemic levels (24%) – but that’s still almost a quarter of crew who don’t get home on time.
As explained, access to mental health support is becoming more widespread and this is reflected in the Danica survey where more than half of respondents confirmed they have access to mental health support (51.69%). Of those who made use of this facility (20%), 70% said they found the service useful. This was the first time the Danica survey has included questions about seafarer mental well-being.
Danica’s Seafarers’ Survey 2023 highlights how crew training has evolved post-pandemic, with the number of seafarers receiving training via online methods almost doubling since the 2020 survey. Some 55% of respondents received training by computer based methods, and 60% of crew reported that training took place during their home periods.
Danica notes a trend for offering training in more subjects today. However, the majority of training available is on technical matters and in relation to compliance (such as MARPOL regs and Ballast Water Management). Only 0.4% of seafarers were trained in leadership – something Henrik Jensen is a vocal advocate of. He commented: “Training in rules results in seafarers who can comply. Training in leadership creates seafarers who can lead, manage and think ahead.”
This is the fourth time Danica has conducted its Seafarers’ Survey. Seafarers responding to this year’s 45-question survey, which was open to all applicants as well as Danica employed crew, encompassed all age groups, ranks, and many nationalities. Almost half (45%) of respondents occupied senior ranks particularly Masters, Chief Officers and Chief Engineers. Crew worked on the majority of vessel types, including passenger ferries and the offshore sector, with 30% of respondents serving on bulk carriers. The average age of respondents was between 30-55 years.
Mr Jensen commented: “Our survey revealed some interesting and surprising results which we hope will help our owners to enhance their marine crewing and HR strategies,” adding, “We don’t claim this survey is representative of the whole industry or scientifically accurate but we do believe it gives a good snapshot of the seafarers’ situation in 2023.”
Furthermore, in an exclusive interview to SAFETY4SEA, Henrik Jensen, CEO and Founder of Danica Crewing Specialists, suggested how seafarer training should adapt to new challenges and highlights the importance of providing to seafarers fully contracted employment.