Study: Make seafaring a more attractive career
A new study on the future of global supply and demand of seafarers projects that by 2020, the maritime industry will need to recruit an additional 32,153 officers and 46,881 ratings above 2010 figures to meet growing needs.
The study by The Nippon Foundation and the Japan International Transport Institute said the industry also needs to tackle problems of attraction and retention of newcomers to the profession, and makes recommendations on how these targets could be achieved. It was presented Tuesday by JITI President Makoto Washizu at a seminar at the International Maritime Organization headquarters in London.
The study found too few young people are joining the industry, and too many existing seafarers are seeking shore-based jobs early in their careers.
Responses to questionnaires revealed the need to attract the interest of potential seafarers from an early age, and to keep their interest throughout their education. While respondents seemed drawn to seafaring as a high-status vocation and praised the wages and job satisfaction, most felt pessimistic about the onboard lifestyle, and cited poor conditions at sea and difficulty with relationships and family life as reasons for planning to move to land-based work in the future.
Seminar speaker Bj'rn Kjerfve, president of the World Maritime University, further pointed out that piracy incidents are on the increase and that 200 seafarers are being held hostage at the present time.
Another area of concern is that too few women take jobs as seafarers, and 94 percent of the women who go to sea work on ferries and cruise ships, with only 6 percent in maritime cargo transportation. Women are dissuaded by a lack of 'family friendly' policies, health and safety concerns and a perceived lack of career progression, as they are often entrusted with fewer duties than male colleagues.