NOWHERE has the skills shortage been felt as acutely as in the market for technical / shipmanagement staff. Chief engineers in particular have been the one thing that every single shipowner and shipmanager has been desperate for this decade.
The catch-22 is that they’re needed at sea AND ashore as technical superintendents. Superintendent salaries rose sharply over this decade as a result.
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The main impact the recession seemed to have on the demand for technical staff was a slowing down in the hiring process. Average time-to-hire increased as decision making went from line managers to managing directors but hiring was still happening. Perhaps a less noticed impact, unless it affected you personally, was how hard the market has become for very senior technical staff who have found themselves without a job. There are some brilliant director-level people out there who would ordinarily be snapped up, but who have had to sit out the market for many months.
Even the technical market took a tumble around March / April this year. Newbuilding cancellations and a generally pessimistic outlook (now there’s an understatement!) dampened demand for these hens-teeth of the shipping world.
It was short lived – Spinnaker is once more busily foraging for [good] candidates to look after the growing world fleet. It will be interesting to see what impact continued layups and the delivery of all those newbuildings will have on demand for technical staff.