Go back

Technical shipping - change on the horizon?

26 June 2017


It’s halfway through the year and we’re shaking things up at Spinnaker Global. For many years, we’ve built our recruitment teams by region, with an Asia Pacific desk, European desk, US desk and so on. But we’ve recently restructured so we have two large teams, split by our expertise. We have a Commercial team, and a Technical team, the latter being the one that I’m proud to head up. All our maritime technical roles are now handled by my staff, because that’s where our knowledge lies. Heading up the technical shipping recruitment team is an exciting prospect, particularly in a market that seems to have change on the horizon...

So what’s new in maritime? Well, there’s still plenty of uncertainty in the dry bulk market. This isn’t a surprise to anyone. The tanker market’s not doing much better… cruise is booming. We know all this! What are the other trends I’m seeing?

It’s all about Greece! I know a lot of clients who are relocating to Greece. Greek candidates who have left are now incredibly eager to get back. I spoke to our Head of Marketing who said that in the past month, we’ve had a 25% increase in people in Greece coming to our site. Our monthly newsletter Changing Course arrives in the inboxes of over 38,000 shipping professionals. The number of Greece-located recipients is growing ever higher.

So how come Greece is having a moment? It isn’t just for the gorgeous views and spanakopita. It’s a historic shipping hub. There’s a talent pool ready and waiting; so you can’t blame the relocations!

I’ve been in shipping recruitment for over 7 years. The market used to be awash with senior roles. Clients were falling over themselves to go big – build those boards, hire hire hire! They’re still hiring – of course, and we’re doing a very good job for them – but they’re much more discerning these days. If there was a trend in the recruitment of senior execs I would say it’s specificity. It’s not without a good reason behind it – shipping is going through a phase of cost management and we understand that. You want to make sure the person at the helm of your business is going to be a sure bet. That they’re going to steer it in the right direction. Luckily, through our 20 years of experience (that’s right – Spinnaker turns 20 this autumn!) and our incredible network of contacts, we can find those ‘needle in a haystack’ execs because we know the market. We talk, of course, but we also listen. It’s having that ear to the ground that keeps us in the loop.

My 7 years in shipping has also meant that I feel as though I’ve been seeing the same people at networking events. I found it interesting that at the recent Maritime HR conference in London, the common theme was that the generation at the top of shipping will be retiring soon, and a whole new generation will be taking it over. We keep hearing about big data, industry disruption, cyber security. New themes for an old industry. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks?

Shipping isn’t known for change, as we know, but I’ve got a feeling that when it comes, it’ll be overnight. And we’ll be here, ready for it.

David Tubb manages the Technical Shipping recruitment team for Spinnaker Global. Tweet him at @SG_DTubb