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heidi watson

Adapting to the new workplace – Heidi Watson, Partner, Clyde & Co.

What impact do you see the ongoing talent war having on the maritime industry?

“Maritime is not immune to the talent war – it applies just as much in this sector as anywhere else. The well-publicised “Great Resignation/ Great Reshuffle” of people moving roles and changing careers entirely as we come out of the lockdown stages of the Covid-19 pandemic is also occurring in maritime and its related industries.

“The positive side to this is that there is a huge opportunity to attract newcomers to the industry who can bring diversity of thought and skills in emerging areas, as shipping looks to digitalise, for example. The impact of tech, AI and data in maritime is huge and there are many new roles in these areas.”

How can flexible and hybrid working be successful in this sector?

“For corporate and shore-based roles, there is no reason why shipping should be any different to other sectors in terms of the ability to adapt working models. Obviously for seafarers, there are multiple additional needs to consider. Ultimately, whether at sea or on shore, people make our industry and world go round, so employers really need to listen to their people and embrace flexibility and resilience.”

What can businesses do to adapt to new working models?

“This is a frequently-asked question and there are practical steps that employers can take to embed culture again and adapt to the new workplace. I’ll be sharing more detail on this at Spinnaker’s People & Culture Conference later this month, but as an example employers will want to engage with staff and managers on what models would work for them and what parameters are needed for flexibility to meet business needs. Employers will want to think about appropriate policies to set expectations and be clear about the extent of discretion for managers in managing flexibility on a team level.”

Heidi Watson is chairing a panel discussion on the topic of Flexible and Hybrid Working at the Spinnaker People & Culture Conference, taking place on 26 and 27 May. To attend, visit:

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