Shortage of Qualified Professionals Plagues International Maritime Industries

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Today’s Lloyd’s List (subscription required – free 7 day trial offer available) published an article entitled “Diving into the Skills Gap.”(via Royal Dutch Shell plc.com)

…(A) massive skills shortage spans the world, and industry is having to roll up its sleeves and sharpen its recruiting. IMCA, the International Marine Contractors Association, with 365 member companies in 47 countries, is juggling with this ‘hot potato’ for all the oil patches, not just the North Sea.

It is spurring action far and wide, and publicising, as it did during the massive recent OTC exhibition in Houston, and spreading the word about the steps it is taking to address the supply of personnel.

Nor is it merely master mariners and chief engineers who are in demand, but all marine construction crew, and support teams in the offices as well as people afloat. Drilling companies, and oil companies from upstream to downstream are all in the chorus.

Within the contracting and oil industry, the average age is 50 to 52, and the bell curve is leaning to the right. On average, companies need to recruit 10% more staff this year, ‘and that is just to stand still, because 10% will retire’, says IMCA chief executive Hugh Williams.

While focusing primarily on the oil industry, this article highlights the problems that all maritime trades are suffering from currently and which will get exponentially worse in the future. What is the solution?

Sea-Fever Consulting LLC and Sea-Changes Foundation were both established to provide short and longer term solutions to this very significant challenge. Creating professional development opportunities in the commercial maritime industry is a start and exposing more young people to maritime careers is a longer term proposition. Maritime companies must invest in people at all levels today if they hope to attract competent workers and operate safely and profitably in the future.

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Peter A. Mello

Father, son. Lifelong mariner, student of leadership, photographer. Professional creative placemaker.

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