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Investing in talent – Dubai snapshot

It is a well versed theme at maritime events that talent is an important topic for organisations, and one of the biggest sources of worry! This was expressed by Karen Waltham (MD, HR Consulting) speaking at the Maracad Maritime Academic Conference in Dubai in November; challenging the maritime industry to start thinking ahead and planning for the future.

With 4.6% of Dubai’s GDP coming from the maritime industry, the development of the region as a major maritime hub has encouraged heavy investment and promotion. This was evident at the event where official sponsors included the Federal Authority of Land and Maritime Transport, as well as collaborating organisations such as DCCI, DMCA and AASTMT. All parties were highly supportive of the aims of growth. However, pivotal to the success of its development will be the expertise, skill level and talent of the people within the region.

With this in mind Karen, speaking at a session on talent, said that “as leaders we must start taking responsibility for building the talent of the future”. This includes the improvement of career development and transition from sea to shore. Few cadets when they first set sail would consider a role in insurance, for example, and a 2nd engineer may not think about a future ashore in fleet IT support. Yet with experience at sea they have the potential to build an ideal skillset for such roles. Career Bridges is an initiative being launched by the Maritime HR Association with the aim to address this industry-wide challenge, with the development of profiling tools which highlight preferred personality traits.

Dubai’s maritime jobs have been ranked 4th across the world with 75,000 employees. If further growth is expected, the UAE has a great opportunity to be the region of choice for top talent. To facilitate this it is essential for authorities to create an employment environment which appeals to first class companies. This in turn will ensure the attraction and loyalty of the best people in the maritime world. However Dubai should not be complacent, as other government initiatives with similar objectives around the world will be in competition for talent; these include Maritime Singapore and the Maritime Growth Study in the UK.

While London is listed eighth in the world for “ease of doing business’’ by the banks and Singapore is able to capitalise on its strategic location, Dubai clearly has the energy, the growth, expansion plans and planned investment to be a contender for experienced and quality maritime employees.

Find out more about Career Bridges by contacting Karen Waltham at KWaltham@spinnaker-global.com.

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