Prior to setting up Marine Resources Recruitment in 2003, founder James Ward was looking for a new job with a boat builder in the UK. While he had already been working in the sector for a couple of years, he realised there was no central point to try and find out about other opportunities going within the industry. Once operational, it soon became clear that Marine Resources was filling a gap in the recruitment market. The company has since grown and now recruits for every aspect of the marine industry within the UK and Europe, focusing more and more on the shoreside superyacht sector.
“Shoreside recruitment in the superyacht sector is really broad, a lot broader than people think,” explains Ward. “When people come to us to look at career options, they mainly think about brokerage, charter and management, but don’t consider the many other roles that the superyacht industry comprises of, including the many diverse roles within manufacturing and the supply chain. It’s a massive industry: anything that goes onto a superyacht requires skilled knowledge from specialised people to put it there.”
As a trend, the superyacht industry has typically preferred to employ people with prior experience within the industry who can talk from a point of knowledge. Interestingly, however, Ward notes that this is an attitude that is shifting. “If you look at the superyacht building side, 10 years ago our clients wanted people with a strong marine background that had already worked with superyachts,” he recalls. “Now this is becoming a ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘must-have’ and employers are increasingly taking people from the domestic trades. For example, very good domestic carpenters to project managers from outside of the industry.”
“For many roles, particularly technical roles, the superyacht industry cannot match the packages offered by the aviation or automotive industries..."
In light of this shift, Marine Resources’ recruitment techniques have become much broader and the company is continuously looking to recruit from outside the industry. In terms of the superyacht building sector, Ward believes that the shift has come about from a significant skills shortage, which exists both in UK and Europe. The same shift, however, is being seen in the yacht brokerage sector, which Ward believes comes down to a demand for more professional training of its sales personnel.
“Our yacht brokerage clients are increasingly looking for sales people from the high-end car sales industry,” Ward adds. “This is mainly because they have realised that the sales training that these people are bringing with them supersedes any training that currently exists in the marine industry. So, the shoreside superyacht sector is gradually becoming more open minded about recruiting outside of the industry, essentially realising that existing skillsets and training is much more valuable to an employer than knowing about superyachts. It is certainly an interesting time for recruitment.”
While the shoreside recruitment sector is shifting, and businesses within the superyacht industry are being proactive in terms of setting up their own apprenticeship schemes and opening up to candidates from other industries, the next challenge for recruitment will be ensuring the superyacht industry is a competitive option for upcoming talent.
“For many roles, particularly technical roles, the superyacht industry cannot match the packages offered by the aviation or automotive industries, which currently attract the vast majority of talent,” warns Ward. “In the future, the superyacht industry needs to focus on being competitive with salaries, career progression and professionalism in order to guarantee that the right people can be recruited. Currently, there is still a bit of a way to go.”
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