Growing concern over number of falsified CVs
Recruiters are highlighting the worrying amount of ‘massaged’ CVs in yachting…
The post-pandemic era has provided some new and unique challenges to the labour market. The superyacht industry, in particular, has been struggling to find quality crewmembers with solid experience at sea for quite some time, and the additional challenges presented by external influences seem to have only amplified bad practices from both recruiters and candidates.
While it's not uncommon for candidates to edit their CVs to make themselves as appealing as possible, falsifying or lying on a CV is considered a criminal offence. In the UK, in a freshly-published case of ‘R v Andrewes’, the employee's performance was outstanding, yet he had lied about his qualifications and experience. He received a two-year prison sentence and was ordered to repay some of his earnings. The Supreme Court also stated that where particular qualifications were needed by law to perform a job, then not only would the fraudster go to jail, but the whole of the amounts earned during the period of employment could be confiscated.
Tim Clarke, Managing Director of Quay Crew, provided some insight when it comes to hiring Captains. The issue of falsified CVs is, of course, not exclusive to Captains, however, given that they hold the highest command of the vessel and have the most responsibility, it is particularly worrying that they are also part of the problem.
Clarke explains, “I think the Captain market is extremely competitive, and there are a lot of people out of work at the moment. The reality of having bills to pay means people get more and more desperate to secure jobs and that leads them down the path of falsifying their CVs. Whilst I don't think there are huge amounts of people out there with false qualifications...
"I do think there are an awful lot of Captains out there who have edited their CVs to make themselves look as appealing as possible.”
Clarke continues, “The format that this most commonly follows is the massaging of their earlier career - people think they can get away with editing what they did two or three yachts ago - turning that eight months into a year or whatever it is. I've seen CVs where they've turned a year and a half or two years into three years and four years.”
It is bizarre that the superyacht industry is one which allows individuals to overlook the skillset and experience required to maintain and operate a vessel at sea considering how high the stakes are. Very few people would consider going onboard a commercial ferry, cruise ship, or aeroplane if they found out the skipper had lied on their CV to get the job. However, in yachting, that's just the way that it is. Clarke stated that if he is to advertise a Captains job, out of all the CVs submitted, a ‘significant percentage’ will be flagged for having false information.
Clarke is of the opinion that there is a race to the bottom in the superyacht recruitment sector. Ultimately, quality, service, and professionalism are being disregarded for cheaper prices. “In yachting, there is a line in the sand that indicates the fee that should be paid for a crewmember is one month's salary - which works out to about 8% of an annual salary.” Clarke says, “In any other sector, a managing director or a CEO in a land-based role such as banking or aviation or pharmaceutical, the fee for replacing someone in a superyacht captain equivalent role would be 20-35% of the annual salary, and that would get you proper rigorous background checking.”
Clarke goes on to explain, “Providing a great service and background checking takes time and effort. I know recruitment agencies out there which are only charging 50% of one month's salary, there are even some out there charging even less, and clients wonder why they get terrible service...
"If you're paying peanuts what do you expect?”
The provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention with respect to crew recruiting and placement as detailed in Article 1.4 state that recruitment companies will not maintain a blacklist to prevent individual seafarers from gaining employment. At the same time recruitment companies must maintain a competitive edge, which means information is not shared between agencies when a candidate with a particularly bad track record and falsified CV applies for a job. Therefore, one must question where the incentive is for ridding the industry of unprofessional and potentially underqualified candidates. Unfortunately, it appears that this is yet another example of how the industry fails to reflect standards that are found in most other comparable industries all over the world.
When asked about a potential solution to this problem, Clarke replied, “I don’t see any easy or quick fix. Agencies currently don’t share information, for a variety of reasons. Some (not all) of the brokerages, once they’ve sold the yacht, they're not bothered about finding the perfect captain for that particular owner. There is no incentive after the sale to get involved in that. I think this is short-sighted as ultimately, finding the right Captain would improve the yacht ownership experience which would result in more sales and more revenue filtering down into the industry for all suppliers.”
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