We all know that, just like our kids, we can get numbers to tell us what we want to hear. With that caveat in mind, and the market having been so odd this year, we decided to look at our numbers.
The first thing that stands out is just how many vacancies there are – up 24% on last year and 62% on the previous year. Great market then? Well, sort of. But there’s still a recessionary mindset out there. Many jobseekers remain very cautious and, compared to earlier years, only willing to move for absolutely the right job and the right money. At the same time, employer expectations are that now is the time to hire people for a good price. And they too are choosier, about who they want. So, in 2012 employers are carrying out 30% more interviews for each job they fill and for every charterer and shipbroker they hire they’re looking at 34% more CVs. Conversely, they’re looking at no more CVs per hire for technical and shipmanagement staff.
When it comes to offers, almost 1 in 4 technical people turn them down whereas only 1 in 7 commercial people are doing the same. Beggars can’t be choosers?
So what do the numbers tell us? More than anything, they show just how closely sentiment in commercial shipping recruitment tracks the freight market and how much more careful employers are being when hiring broking and chartering folk. There’s far less long term planning out there than we like to think. Compare this with 2006-8 when anyone with a sniff of a fixture could line up the offers, double their salary and still turn their nose up if the sign-on bonus wasn’t enough.
And technical staff? Well, they were in demand then and they’re in demand now. Think of all those ships being delivered. They all need looking after regardless of market conditions.