Maritime Salaries Rise Despite Industry Woes [REPORT]

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July 13, 2012

Maritime and offshore industry recruitment group, Faststream, has released their annual Maritime Salary Review, looking at salary trends across a number maritime and offshore sectors. The report, based on responses of over 4,000 shipping professionals from offshore to cruise, found that despite shipping industry woes, salaries across nearly all sectors continue to rise.

In fact, Faststream data shows that over half of the survey respondents reported a salary increase of 5% or more over the past 12 months. Still, nearly 30% of seafarers reported no change or a decrease in their salary.

Among the survey’s key findings, Faststream found that salaries for Master Mariners working on passenger vessels remain the highest at $153K, representing a 22.8% increase over last year. Meanwhile, Master Mariners working in the offshore sector are among the second highest paid at $128K, rising a smaller but still noble 7% over last year.

Below deck, engineers working in the offshore sector are amongst the highest paid with Chief Engineers raking in an average $114K.  Chief Engineers on tankers, meanwhile, come in a close second with $112K.

Faststream also found that Eastern European seafarers no longer represent an “emerging market” or cheap source of labor.

From Croatia to Poland, there is an excellent network of training institutions which are producing some very able officers. East European engineers are in particular demand. However, when it comes to “client facing” roles, we can see that West Europeans are still perceived by employers to be the most desirable. British, Dutch, German and Scandinavian master mariners in particular are highly regarded and continue to command a significant salary premium over their East European and Asian counterparts. National variations in officers’ salaries are becoming slowly less pronounced and we believe that this trend will continue as increasing numbers of officers enter the workforce from a wide range of regions.

Demand for second and chief engineers has created the desire for employers to consider all nationalities in the engine room. The current most skill-short area is second engineers with five years experience, and it is those candidates in particular who are receiving the top salaries.

Ashore, Faststream says that although officer can expect a steady growth in income as he or she rises through the ranks, those who move ashore after spending between 6 and 10 years at sea can see a significant rise in their income over their career than compared to what they might have expected had they stayed at sea.

Additional findings in the survey revealed that benefit packages offered by ship management companies have caught up with those on offer from shipowners; Asia based ship operators and shipbrokers are 20% better paid than their European counterparts; and 9% of shore based shipping professionals reported a salary drop in 2012.

“Even though the shipping industry is being buffeted by poor vessel earnings, rising costs and ever more stringent regulations, salaries continue to rise,” commented Faststream Group CEO Mark Charman. “The sector suffers from a skill shortage and the pool of highly qualified people continues to shrink. This is both the legacy of a lack of training in the 1980s during the previous downturn and the often perceived low status of jobs in the shipping industry.”

Still, and in spite of this percieved good news, concerns on gCaptain’s social networks are mounting that the wages indicated by the report seem low balled, especially amongst the offshore sector. The report didn’t clearly state anything about seagoing positions in the US but mentioned good salaries across the board mainly due to the “insular nature” of the US market.

Also not mentioned was the how the numbers were determined, i.e. average salary, median, etc.

Download: Faststream’s 2012 Maritime Salary Review

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