Surveys for crew are everywhere (sorry about that – we know that’s partly down to us and our Superyacht Golden Ticket crew survey…) but one ex-crewmember has published the results of her survey, for her MBA thesis, which interestingly shows that crew are more personally affected by intrinsic rewards (personal achievement, professional growth, a sense of pleasure and accomplishment and so on) than extrinsic, tangible rewards, such as tips.

Katrina Polkaj’s survey, which had 244 respondents and was to support her thesis on living and working conditions for superyacht crew, revealed that while the split was relatively even between professional development (27.4 per cent) and financial rewards (31.1 per cent) when it came to being a motivational driver for choosing to work in yachting, a clear majority (77.1 per cent) intangible rewards, as described above, as more personally important. Just 23 per cent found tangible rewards the most important personal motivator.

But despite intrinsic rewards carrying the most value for crew, when asked how often superiors expressed gratitude and recognition, 29.9 per cent and 29.5 per cent said ‘sometimes’ and ‘often’ respectively. Unfortunately just 11.1 per cent said ‘very often’, 20.9 per cent said ‘rarely’ and 8.6 per cent ‘never’.

The results of this survey are refreshing. They show us that we’ve been somewhat blind-sided by this image of crew as money-seeking and financially driven newbies

Salary satisfaction was the most important facet of working on board for just 21.8 per cent of crew, while having a good-working crew was most important for 36.4 per cent. Moreover, when we look at the reasons crew left their last job, there was a relatively even split between the three most popular responses: career development, the yacht was poorly managed and lack of leadership and guidance on board.

The results of this survey are refreshing. They show us that we’ve been somewhat blind-sided by this image of crew as money-seeking and financially driven newbies. A lot of crew, it seems, actually want professional development on board, coming hand-in-hand with good guidance and leadership. So why aren’t the crew getting it? Are we working under the misconception that crew are more motivated by tangible rewards? If so, perhaps it’s time to take another look at how we start rewarding our crew.