Human resourcing - education and training in the maritime sector

Human resourcing within the maritime sector

Gill Widell, Margareta Damm and Staffan Gran

The maritime transport industry is immensely capital intensive, but all the physical assets are obviously useless without the workforce. Like in many industries, recruiting the new generation of people to man the sector is a great challenge for all actors involved. The problem also seem to be equivalent to industries in general, i.e. the young generations don’t want to work there and do not seek education and training to become competent to work there. We will touch upon this general problem, but the focus will be on the maritime sector.
The sea officers are the most crucial for the functioning of the core of the maritime sector, and a recent international forecast by the manning company OSM (SFBF 2008.10) is that there will be a lack of around 90,000 sea officers by 2012, which is in line with the impressive investigation on the European maritime sector resources by Weber and Nevala (2006). Other sources estimate less lack but still a growing international staffing problem, especially concerning sea officers (BIMCO/ISF, 2005).
The estimated lack of sea officers does not seem to be reflected in other professions within the maritime sector, though there is a general need for a raise of competence in all parts of the sector. This can however be discussed, as the rate of efficiency and innovation seem to be high, and there is thus uncertainty about which directions in specialisation the development of the sector will take. Gardner and Petit (1996) assumed in the middle of the 1990’s that around 70% of the shore-based jobs needed sea experience – whether this figure will rest for future development or not we cannot foresee at the moment.
The purpose of this study is to give an overview over the current human resource situation in the maritime sector, to formulate important challenges, and to suggest possible strategic questions for investigation in order to meet these challenges. Within the issue of competences needed within the sector and how to provide it, this report will conclude by formulating the most crucial questions in need of further investigation.