Spinnaker: London faces Seafarer Shortage

Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Maritime recruitment specialist, Spinnaker Consulting, says maritime employers in London face a shortage of ex-seafarers willing to join them. High housing costs and static salaries are making it harder for seafarers to accept jobs in London. Writing in the latest issue of Changing Course, Spinnaker's monthly e-mail newsletter, managing director Phil Parry says, "Master mariners and chief engineers when coming ashore into jobs in London and the South of England are typically offered salaries in the range £37-45,000. That is no longer enough to attract the right candidates. "It has become noticeably harder in the last couple of years for employers to find people who are willing to work in London or the Home Counties - whether or not that requires relocation - for much less than the top of the range. That is probably more to do with rising house prices than with a shortage of British officers. We have no shortage of the right candidates, but we are experiencing a greater number saying "no thanks" to clients on salary grounds and deciding to stay at sea for longer. "You can't really blame them; despite the personal or domestic pressures to do so, making the move ashore has always been a big step for seafarers as they forego their offshore tax status and face a cut in salary. "Unwillingness to take salaries below the top of the range has created a bunching effect. Employers who recruited staff 3 or more years ago at salaries lower in the range, find themselves having to consider paying as much or more for someone fresh from the sea as they now pay to experienced staff. They only have three choices. They either hold out for someone who'll take the salary on offer, they adjust their requirements or they pay more money. "In the present economic climate however, employers will find it difficult to justify salary increases whilst clamping down on costs elsewhere."

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