Throughout July and August 2017, superyacht recruiter Faststream and industry job board Yotspot surveyed over 1200 superyacht crew to gain a unique insight into the views, thoughts and feelings they have about the industry they work in. As part of a series of articles looking at each of the areas of the survey, below SuperyachtNews looks at the results regarding career performance and pay.
On the face of it crew salaries may seem high, but when you consider the hard work, long hours and skillset that are expected of many crew, the salary ranges appear much more justified. In the survey, crew were asked whether they are generally satisfied with their current level of pay. The results were fairly evenly split, with 54 per cent of respondents satisfied, and 46 per cent not.
“The results are encouraging,” says Mark Charman, CEO of the Faststream Group. “Whether it is in the wider maritime sector or another industry altogether, people generally think they are underpaid. Therefore, 54 per cent being satisfied with their pay is a good result, and generally they are right; salaries in the yacht sector are good.”
The problem with highly paid jobs is that it can attract crew into the industry for the sole purpose of making a quick buck, rather than viewing it as a serious and professional career path. According to the survey findings, however, 83 per cent of respondents believe that they can fulfil their long-term career aspirations within yachting, whether it is at sea or ashore.
“It is a positive result for the industry but the question is whether the yacht sector can provide enough opportunities for crew to spend their working life within,” continues Charman. “Most crew will not want to stay at sea forever, and there is a limit to the jobs that are available within yachting ashore. Nevertheless, yachting businesses ashore will benefit from those looking to make the transition ashore, which is unlike commercial areas of the maritime sector where hiring ex- seafarers ashore remains a huge challenge.”
While the superyacht sector is clearly being seen as a long-term career option by crew, does it still need to adopt the career development and performance processes that are so prevalent ashore? The survey asked respondents whether they have had a performance review in the last six months. Only 36 per cent answered that they had, leaving a large majority without a performance review over a significant period of time.
“Performance reviews are an important part of working life, both for the employee and the employer,” advises Charman. “They provide an opportunity to recognise and discuss development areas, listen to people’s worries or frustrations and ultimately help with engagement and retention. We are starting to see the larger yachts adopting a more formal approach to performance reviews, which has become possible given the amount of resource they have available to do so. Smaller yachts with less resource will need to think creatively around how they can adopt a similar approach. Small companies ashore can do it, so there is no reason that it cannot happen on smaller yachts at sea, if the desire is there.”
SuperyachtNews will continue to publish the survey's findings over the course of the week, looking closely at the other key areas of analysis.