You can imagine my surprise when, sitting in the bridge of Feadship’s 40m motoryacht, Captain Charles Pritchard describes his manager as, “Fantastic – a great asset to have in my back pocket”. And then he adds: “There’s definitely room for recruitment agencies to move forward, but I don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.”
Captain Pritchard is of the opinion that the management and recruitment sectors are bearing the brunt of unwarranted reproofs. He is far from producing a gold-plated list of the successes of these two sectors (Captain Pritchard admits he has never been an apologist for management, nor has he ever found a job through a recruitment agency), but in his view, they’ve made no mistakes.
“A lot of stuff is thrown in the managers’ way. The captain is often sitting there feeding their crew, saying, ‘The management did this’, but he is actually just covering his own back. So I’m pretty confident a lot of the stress is coming from that direction. But it also comes from the number of egos that at times permeate senior crew. There’s no place for ego anywhere. We were crewmembers once, some of us not that long ago, and it doesn’t mean we’re special; we’re just another part of the team.”
And it boils down to the same disproportionate attitude when it comes to recruitment; the recruiters are taking on the role of scapegoat for an overpopulated industry.
“I have never got a job through an agency, but for deck that’s pretty normal. Agencies are great for chefs and engineers, and maybe for stews, but forget about it for the deckhands – it’s just numbers coming through. It’s very easy to sit here and point fingers and say, ‘Agencies are doing it all wrong’, but I see the way they operate and there’s nothing wrong; it’s just the results aren’t quite there yet, and I put it down to crew numbers.
“There are a lot of young guys coming through, expecting the world; ‘I want four thousand euros a month, and I want this season, not that season’. The same story was happening when I started in this industry fourteen years ago. It’s not anything new. There are all these boats being built, still, even five years into this credit crunch, and they’re getting bigger. Crew are just getting sucked. To sum it up, recruitment is a challenge for the industry, but there’s nobody to point the finger at; it will just start balancing out when we start building more boats.”
Find the full interview in issue 65 – the Monaco issue – of The Crew Report.