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COMBINING the two HR departments in shipping companies is becoming increasingly popular. Fifteen years ago when Spinnaker was set up there were very few true HR professionals in the industry. The industry has now brought in HR expertise across the board. Having arrived, they have challenged those with salt in our veins about how we do things. This is what led to the formation of the Maritime HR Forum as they demanded reliable salary data to do their job properly.

And so it should come as no surprise that our dear industry, which suffers from peaks and troughs (admittedly more troughs than peaks) in the long-term supply of skills, should have realised that it makes sense to pull together many of the HR practices, which have so improved life ashore, with those in the seagoing HR or crewing departments. Seven years ago, when the Maritime HR Forum was founded, this was a new topic, of interest to only a few. At the 2012 annual members’ meeting, members identified that most of them have either already merged the two functions or are on the way towards it. Career path planning, capability planning, retention, management skills (and reducing the bullying problem) …all these things benefit, it seems, from a combined approach.

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