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maritime lead of faith

The maritime market – taking a leap of faith

Spinnaker launched the first ever shore-based shipping recruitment agency in 1997 and we’ve seen highs and lows – the boom and bust of the 2008-2009 crash, and of course the still-present effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the global workforce – and as we approach the final months of 2021, we take a look at market sentiment. 

Succession planning and career reassessment 

There seems to be a lot of succession planning happening as executives are approaching retirement age, or are just wanting to step back,” says Teresa Peacock, Managing Director of Spinnaker’s Executive Search division. “Judging by what I’m hearing through our network, I think this is in part due to lifestyle changes because of covid. People are reassessing. As a result, our team are picking up new senior-level roles at a high rate for this time of year.” 

A leap of faith? 

We were instructed on a number of high-profile board level searches during the first six months of the pandemic, only to experience a quiet period from late 2020 until early summer this year. “The search market seems to have exploded again since then and we are enjoying a bit of a purple patch at the moment,” says Spinnaker Chairman Phil Parry. “There seems to be a general air that it’s time to get on with things.  A couple of clients who have been biding their time have now pulled the trigger on their plans to recruit 30 and 10 people each, quite simply saying that they can’t wait any longer. It’s a strange time out there. I think people have concluded that they can’t tell what’s coming, so are looking past macro indicators at the moment and taking a leap of faith.” 

Spinnaker’s Executive Search team are hiring for several senior roles currently including: 

  • General Counsel, UK 
  • Chief Underwriting Officer, London 
  • Chief People Officer, Asia Pacific 
  • Technical Director, Middle East 
  • Senior Chartering Manager (Dry Bulk), Middle East 
  • Non-Executive Director, USA 
  • Procurement Director, Middle East 
  • Port Director, Middle East  

The offshore landscape is shifting 

For the offshore market, things are picking up,” says Oliver Mason, Principal Technical Consultant at Spinnaker. “Since the word ‘lockdown’ was first mentioned, the price of oil dropped instantly, and OSV companies had to accept the cheap rates. But now we’re at a point where oil fields and rigs are up and running again. A client of mine turned down the chance to bid for an ARAMCO contract – those cheap rates are being rejected, it’s not a buyers’ market anymore. The general feeling from my clients is that they’re all expecting a better ’22.” 

Sustainability driving change 

Technical recruitment remains stable,” says David Tubb, Director, Recruitment at Spinnaker. “There are opportunities through natural movement that would be expected in the market, yet not too many opportunities being created through growth as the net size of fleets largely remains the same. Where there are changes it’s through acquisitions and distressed assets finding their way into ship managers with economies of scale.”  

ESG are the initials on everyone’s lips of course. Spinnaker is handling all sorts of job titles the didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago. We’re definitely moving beyond image and seeing clients serious about what can be done to make actual changes. Just as shipping shaped up and hired HR professionals from other sectors some years ago, we’re now seeking ‘external’ sustainability skills. 

The maritime tech market continues to fight for the best salespeople on the market. It’s not unusual for candidates to be having conversations with multiple companies and having several offers on the table at one time. It’s a candidate market for these people and it’s coming down to salary and commission structures, the culture of the organisation …and candidates are evaluating the products of hiring companies much more closely than ever before, before joining them. 

Maintaining stability 

We’re finding that finance and accounting opportunities remain buoyant at the junior to middle management level through attrition, growth, and internal promotions.  Opportunities at the senior management and director level continue to be narrow as organisations are keen to hold on to the great people they have and maintain stability rather than changing the status quo.   

It will be interesting to see how the continual changes to international travel restrictions and global mobility impacts business decisions over the next three months and how that will translate into recruitment opportunities as people are again able to move more freely,” concludes Tubb. 

For more information on our recruitment and search services, click here.  

A selection of our recent successful placements: 

  • Sale Representative, Fort Lauderdale  
  • In-house Lawyer, Superyachts, Middle East 
  • Dry Bulk Vessel Operator, Singapore 
  • Technical Purchaser, Germany  
  • Operations Manager, Houston 
  • Commercial Operator, London 
  • Operations Assistant, London  
  • Operations Manager, Singapore 
  • Marine Superintendent, Athens  
  • Dry Cargo Shipbroker, South England  
  • Law Firm – Master Mariner, London 
  • Deputy Commercial Manager, LNG, London 
  • Technical Manager, London  
  • Director of Project Management (Transshipment), Germany  
  • FD&D Solicitor, UK  
  • Senior Operations Manager (Bulk), London   
  • Operations Superintendent – Towage, Italy 
  • Marine Personnel Officer (Dry), London  
  • Technical Superintendent, Tankers, Denmark 
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