Skip to content

Bonuses who got what in 2015?

We are pleased to have recently published an in-depth analysis of the salary survey data provided by the Maritime HR Association’s global 90-strong membership, including pay projections and pay and bonus trends across the full spectrum of shore-side maritime job and company types.

As Secretariat of the Maritime HR Association, Spinnaker’s HR Consulting team are keen to share some highlights of this analysis with the industry, and over the coming months we will be publishing some high-level summaries of our key findings. This week we are focusing on bonuses, allowances and long-term incentive plans across the sector:

• Shipbrokers bring in the bonuses
As we would expect in the current economic climate, the number of companies making bonus payments continues to decline – with just under two thirds of employers paying bonuses to some or all of their staff, compared to 85% two years ago. Big bonuses (100% of base salary or more) still exist for a lucky 0.5% of employees, but this a significant decrease on 1.3% of employees just two years ago. It’s the usual suspects receiving this – i.e. global CEOs and Charterers – but senior Shipbrokers feature really heavily this year too (receiving over half of the big bonuses).

• Long Term Incentive Plans
Unsurprisingly, Long Term Incentive Plans remain associated primarily with senior management teams and those working with LNG vessels (larger corporations and listed companies who are more likely to be able to offer share schemes).

• Hong Kong
The cost of living in Hong Kong has increased over the past couple of years – with Mercer now reporting it to be the second costliest city for ex-patriates (compared to the sixth most expensive in 2013 and third most expensive in 2014). As a result, we have seen a significant increase in the number of companies reporting Housing Allowance payments here. Hong Kong also pays the highest average allowance value, at $55,519 per annum compared to a global average of $20,762.

• Cash allowances
One in ten staff received some kind of ‘other cash allowance’, and this is on top of formal housing and transport allowance arrangements. These are much smaller value payments, averaging at just under $7,000 per annum, and are typically paid in the Middle East to accommodate cost of living, communication and travel costs.

• Education allowances
Less than a third of shipping employers pay an Education or Schooling allowance, averaging at just under $16,000 a year and received by just 2% of all employees. Those based in the Middle East are most likely to receive this allowance, but the highest values are paid to those working in Asia Pacific. Singapore pays the highest – with an average allowance of around $27,000. You might expect ex-patriates (those people working outside of their home country) to be the main recipients of this allowance, but this is becoming less often the case. In fact we are finding these are most commonly paid to foreign workers operating on more mobile and flexible arrangements, who do not meet the traditional definition of a true ex-patriate.

Sarah Hutley, Compensation and Benefits Consultant, HR Consulting, Spinnaker Global

Keep an eye out for more highlights from the report, including a spotlight on bonuses further analysed by job and vessel type. Visit to find out more. 

Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.