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 crew health and wellbeing.
Having asked whether captains and crew feel that they are under excessive pressure in their current role, the results found that 36 per cent of crew and 45 per cent of captains do. Given the demands of crew over the course of a busy season, this is perhaps not surprising. But are the findings cause for concern for the industry, and is it something that employers should be taking note of?
“It may be a reality, but it is not something that can be ignored,” considers Mark Charman, CEO of the Faststream Group. “Excessive pressure in any job is going to lead to issues; whether it be happiness, bad decision making or looking for another job, there are knock-on effects. Perhaps the pressure point is being felt most by captains, given that a lower percentage of crew are feeling under excessive pressure. The data tells us that captains could be taking the bulk of the pressure, so more needs to be done to reduce excessive pressure on captains.”
Excess pressure can often be attributed to a lack of sufficient time off. The survey asked yacht crew whether they are satisfied with their current leave allowance and the responses show that the trend between crew versus captains continues. The findings show that 59 per cent of crew are satisfied with their leave allowance, while only 52 per cent of captains are.
“Excessive pressure and insufficient downtime go hand-in-hand in any job, within any industry,” continues Charman. “If you consider Scandinavia as an extreme example, employees take long summer holidays and work fewer hours each week, yet it has the world’s leading retention, health and wellbeing rates and the highest productivity globally. In yachting there needs to be a balance to ensure that crew are not overworked to the extent that they become pressurised, stressed and ultimately unproductive.”
When asked what the yachting industry can do to improve employee wellbeing, answers followed a similar theme. More rotational jobs, rotation for every crewmember and structured working hours were popular comments. While this may not be a realistic solution for some boats, rotational structures for more senior positions may be the future for the busier and bigger boats, and it is a trend that the industry is already seeing. Rotational positions, for example, are being used to attract captains from the commercial sector.
Finally, the survey asked whether crew believe their current captain is considerate about their wellbeing. The results show that 72 per cent of the crew do, and 68 per cent would feel either very confident or confident about disclosing a personal issue with their captain.
“What we know is that captains are doing a good job using the softer skills required to run a successful yacht and team of crew,” concludes Charman. “They are taking the bulk of the pressure off crew, being considerate about the team’s wellbeing and crew feel comfortable discussing personal issues with them. Of course, this will not be the case for everyone working on a yacht but for the large majority it is. The question is whether money alone, and the love of the job, is enough to keep the best captains in yachting?”
SuperyachtNews will continue to publish the survey's findings over the course of the week, looking closely at the other key areas of analysis.