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Winter 2013 edition of Faststream’s maritime magazine STREAMLINE “THE CONFIDENCE ISSUE”. In this edition we ask whether economic recovery is being translated into improved global maritime employment levels.

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  1. 1. * WINTER 2013 THE FASTSTREAM MAGAZINE STREAMLINE THE CONFIDENCE ISSUE TOP LEVEL HIRES SIGNPOST WAY TO RECOVERY? LOCAL HIRES RULE GROWING CANDIDATE CONFIDENCE 03 Faststream news 10 Contracting offers way out of recession 14 How to attract the right candidates
  2. 2. WELCO In this issue of Streamline we ask whether or not economic recovery is being translated into improved global maritime employment levels. Are maritime industry employers taking on more staff and are people finding it easier to get new jobs? 2 FUNDAMENTALLY, IT’S ALL ABOUT CONFIDENCE As one the world’s leading global maritime recruitment organisations with consultants in the UK, Singapore and the USA, covering a range of markets from seafarers to chartering managers, Faststream is in a good position to see what impact, if any, rising economic confidence has had on maritime employers. Fundamentally, it’s all about confidence. Confidence that freight rates will rise; confidence that the business has a future and, for candidates needing to move, confidence that their house can be sold for a higher price. Confidence translates into economic improvements and higher levels of employment. Voluntary employee turnover is on the rise as disgruntled staff looking for the next move are feeling more confident that the time has come to take the leap. As you will read throughout this edition of Streamline, it is certainly a very mixed bag. At the top end we are seeing a very strong surge in interest for hiring senior management teams, whilst on board ships the demand for seafarers in the offshore, cruise and LNG sectors is rising. However, companies looking at expanding are also taking a careful look at who they already have within their offices and nurturing this talent. We are seeing a rise in the number of short-term contracts, particularly in the USA, and believe that this model offers opportunities to both employers and candidates. In this issue we’re also delighted for you to meet Eric Peters who is Faststream’s newly appointed US managing director and will be heading up Faststream’s operations throughout the Americas. Eric has a strong track record of success in the recruitment and staffing sector and we are very excited by the ideas and energy that Eric brings with him. We wish him all the best. MARK CHARMAN FASTSTREAM GROUP CEO
  3. 3. STREAMLINE NEWS WINTER 2013 UPDATE A FACE TO THE NAME The most common complaint by jobseekers dealing with a recruitment agency is that it can be impossible to speak to a consultant before applying for a job, or to even discover who is managing the recruitment for a particular position. Stine Martinussen of Faststream’s Singapore office presents to attendees of the Power Logistics Asia 2013 conference at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on 31 October. Faststream’s maritime recruitment team has grown substantially in the last quarter with 16 new consultants added to the team globally. Warm welcomes to: India Reynolds, Zac Rowe, Candy Bird, Tom Harradine, Matt Brown, Karl Bradford and Ian Low in the groups UK headquarters. The Singapore office welcomes Shwe Myint, Crystine Cham, Emil Anderson, Vincent Chua and Anna Tan. In the USA Albert Gil, Emily Burville, Michael Guerra and Wes Soell have joined the business. We are always looking for talented individuals to join the Faststream Group as specialist recruiters. If you are interested in finding out more about working for us please visit www.faststream.com/work-for-us This has all changed and now all jobs advertised on Faststream’s website are now accompanied by the consultant’s full contacts details, including direct dial, email, LinkedIn profile and photo. We’re delighted to announce the promotion of both Jason Tay (above) and Matt Conway (below) to directors of Faststream’s Singapore operation. Matt and Jason previously served as managers of Faststream’s Asia Marine and Shipping divisions respectively. Faststream are looking forward to further expansion in Houston with a new, larger office premises in the city’s energy corridor and a recruitment drive which will see further personnel added to the business. Find out more about Faststream’s developments in Houston in the next edition of Streamline. 3
  4. 4. STREAMLINE FOCUS TOP LEVEL HIRES SIGNPOST WAY TO RECOVERY? If the requirement for new top management teams can be taken as a positive sign that the shipping industry is improving, then we should all take comfort from the volume of top level moves currently happening in the marketplace. 4
  5. 5. WINTER 2013 The search is underway for the next generation of leaders of maritime businesses to capitalise on the resurgent shipping markets. Faststream’s executive search division has been taking more calls than ever before from company chairmen keen to ensure that their firms are best positioned to take advantage of the upswing and that their management teams are fit for purpose. Companies are looking for people who have proven experience in optimisation and improving businesses. But why now? Companies in the maritime sector have faced a tough five years. Poor freight rates, charterparty defaults and renegotiations, headcount reductions and increased operating costs have all taken their toll on many shipping businesses. But sentiment in a range of markets seems to be on the rise and this has been reflected in a requirement for senior hires. There are essentially four key reasons behind this. EASTWARD SHIFT Firstly there is the impact of the shifting eastwards of the shipping industry. The rise of Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as ever more European companies expand here, has had a huge impact on leadership teams. Change to organisational structures brings with it change in personnel. In the early 2000s a wave of ex-pats from the West headed east to build their careers in Singapore and Hong Kong. Some of these are now returning, perhaps taking a step backwards with salaries, but now in their 40s or 50s are making the choice to return home. On the other hand there are plenty of experienced people excited by the prospects in the region and looking to relocate in the East. The second driver has been the entrance of private equity firms into the maritime space. Private equity firms typically have a shorter timeframe than traditional investors and are looking for a management team to deliver change and results within a three to five year timeframe. SENTIMENT IN A RANGE OF MARKETS SEEMS TO BE ON THE RISE Many of the private equity firms view the shipping industry as one which can potentially deliver solid profits, but recognise that they don’t have the expertise in-house to conduct due diligence or to oversee these investments. These companies are looking for people with not only indepth shipping industry experience, but also a broader macro-economic perspective. Private equity firms don’t buy the idea that a technical shipping person is always the best person to run the company. The third reason for much of the activity is the rapid growth in the LNG sector. This is a sector which is receiving a huge amount of attention and investment. As China builds more gas-fired power stations and transport fleets begin adopting the fuel, the International Energy Agency forecasts that global gas consumption will rise 50% from 2010 levels by 2035. But the LNG transportation sector also has a big shortage of experienced people. Finally, people do move and people retire creating new holes to be filled. But in an upturn, there is pent up demand as people that have perhaps been dissatisfied for a while decide that it is finally time to go. Further opportunities become open to them and their departure creates a new vacancy. However, it should be noted that the growth in top level hires has not been driven by salary rises. Salaries at the top remain stable, but there are very few norms making it difficult to benchmark salary levels. But it is not easy to find senior leaders for the shipping industry. There is plenty of technical expertise, but much less business acumen available. All too often the leadership style of many maritime businesses is one which would not be tolerated in many other sectors. Running a company is not the same as running a ship and shipping companies are often reluctant to hire leaders who have not been to sea. Companies all too often hire for an individual’s skills and knowledge rather than attitude, forgetting that you can learn the skills but not the attitude. Unfortunately a surprising number of otherwise very talented individuals do not manage their own careers as well they might, making questionable moves. Some apply for lots of jobs, thus devaluing their own value in the marketplace. We advise executives to limit their applications to a select few and to view each move as a stepping stone to progress their careers. 5
  6. 6. STREAMLINE FOCUS LOCAL HIRES RULE With a precarious recovery potentially underway, companies are still taking a cautious attitude towards commercial hires in the key shipping centres. 6
  7. 7. WINTER 2013 Understandably many companies are dealing with increased business requirements through existing staff and not taking a long term view in the way that the technical departments need to. When companies do hire for commercial shipping staff, they will hire the best fit for the job, hoping that the best fit is local. If the local person doesn’t have the skills and experience to fit the role, they will have to look to elsewhere. It is always important to identify local talent early on, and then provide the mentoring, training, and support to keep those employees happy. Governments around the world are of course keen for companies to hire locals, but public pressure in Singapore to curb the country’s liberal immigration policies, has led to a slew of measures to limit the influx of foreign workers in the past year, including lowering the foreign manpower dependency ratio for the manufacturing and services sectors as well as steep increases in the monthly levy paid for hiring overseas employees. SINGAPORE CLAMPDOWN Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has announced measures that firms with more than 25 employees must advertise vacancies for jobs paying less than 12,000 Singapore dollars ($9,574) a month on a new jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency for at least 14 days before applying for an employment pass to bring in a foreign national. The rule comes into effect in August 2014. There has already been a push towards localisation in Singapore for a number of years with a position at a Singapore based firm no longer seen as an ex-pat position. Ex-pats receive higher pay and benefits such as private schooling, accommodation and free flights to ensure that their quality of life is on a par with that which was left behind. But Singapore today cannot be seen as a hardship post. There is now a move afoot for companies to ensure that their senior ex-pats are not on huge salaries and are slowly seeing their packages equalised with local rates. There is certainly now a talent pool of expats in Singapore willing to work on local terms. IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO IDENTIFY LOCAL TALENT EARLY ON One Singapore based employer which has seen a change in profile of its employees is LOC. The international marine and engineering consultancy employs 45 naval architects as well as ex-master mariners and engineers in Singapore and has a growing network of offices across the region. LOC Singapore’s managing director Nick Haslam notes that Singapore is now producing high quality graduates from its own university’s naval architectural degree programmes. These programmes were launched around five years ago. However, finding candidates with five to ten years of experience is much trickier and also keeping good Singaporean employees for more than two years can be a challenge. “Singapore enjoys virtually full employment and many Singaporeans leave after around two years when they are made a higher offer by another employer.“ Nick Haslam also notes that whilst naval architects and structural engineers are relatively easy to find, finding master mariners and engineers in Singapore is more of a challenge. LOC Singapore is about to launch its own three year graduate programme which will take on one or two local graduates and train them across LOC’s Asian network of offices. Whether or not other international companies that make up Singapore’s thriving maritime sector make a concerted effort to develop a local talent pipeline remains to be seen. However, whilst it generally makes sense for companies to hire from the communities that they operate in, generally speaking there are not enough Singaporeans with sufficient maritime skills to make up the numbers in the short term. 7
  9. 9. GROWING CANDIDATE CONFIDENCE WINTER 2013 A key driver for any employment market is the confidence of candidates to leave a stable job and take a new position elsewhere. In recent years, thanks to poor housing markets and negative economic headlines in every newspaper, many candidates have understandably felt rather unwilling to leave a stable job and take a step into the unknown. But this seems to be changing, particularly amongst UK based maritime service providers. Danielle Devine, marine manager at Faststream UK puts the movement in the job market down to a number of key reasons. “Firstly the hiring freezes which were put in place a few years ago have now been lifted which has led to a surge of openings entering back into the marketplace. We’re seeing more people being tempted into the oil and gas sector, on the most part due to financial reward. There is also a general feeling of confidence by candidates about a career move and where there was once just two sets of candidate types ‘active’ and ‘passive’ we’re now seeing a combination of the two, namely the ‘passive active’. These candidates are looking at their career closely, are open to discussing potential opportunities and will be looking at improving company fortunes as an indicator of where they may choose for their next move.” Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Denmark and Norway all remain candidate short markets and P&I clubs, class societies, designers, yards and engineering consultants are taking on good quality candidates. What differs from the 2005-2008 expansion period is that the focus is not on taking people without the full experience and training them into their roles, but rather taking on people with the right experience. Companies are also taking a careful look at who they already have within their offices and nurturing this talent. The lure of the lucrative pay and exciting opportunities in the oil and gas sector is not something which has gone unnoticed within maritime companies, and is not likely to go away anytime soon. STARTING OUT? For those starting their careers in the commercial maritime sector or moving ashore for the first time, there are opportunities available. Professor Nikos Nomikos teaches the London based Cass Business School’s Shipping, Trade & Finance MSc programme and notes that the majority of graduates from the course are landing a job within a couple of months. However, he does sound a note of caution: “Overall there is definitely a market, but we advise our students to be flexible in their expectations, both in terms of salary as well as job type.” The Shipping, Trade & Finance programme takes on around 90 students a year, who are generally either aged 23/24 with a good academic background or those in their late twenties who are coming ashore and looking to enter into the commercial shipping sector. 9
  11. 11. WINTER 2013 RACTING OFFERS UT OF RECESSION Faststream’s new managing director of its American operation believes that maritime recovery in the USA will be underpinned by a new way of flexible working. Louisianan Eric Peters has taken up the reins at Faststream USA having worked in a range of senior levels positions in the staffing industry including Robert Half International, one of the world’s leading staffing specialists. He held the position of Vice President North America for Robert Half Management Resources with responsibility for a $500million revenue stream. He says that independent contract work is something which will become an increasingly important feature of the US maritime sector. “It’s a very flexible model which offers significant upsides for both employers and employees,” he notes. “There’s a huge labor pool of maritime and offshore experts who are perhaps at the tail-end of their careers and have the necessary experience. There are also plenty of others who like the variety and get bored working for the same company year in and year out. For anyone who just wants to get down to the job and not get involved in office politics, this can be very suitable.” An independent contractor is a person who contracts to perform services for others without having the legal status of an employee. Up until recently maritime industry employees would not necessarily have seen themselves as professionals with their own “practices” in the same ways as perhaps a graphic designer or accountant might. However, in a very skill short and often highly technical sector such as shipping, the role for independent contractors is very clear. A typical contractor or project worker in the maritime sector can expect to work for two or three different companies each year. This is not just for roles at sea or on rigs, but for a huge range of professional shore-side positions. Faststream provides the payroll, insurance and contract services to the client, whilst the candidates can use the service to work in a variety of roles throughout the year. Faststream will be building on its Houston presence to deliver this service. The Houston/Galveston area is home to a large number of maritime firms including many shipowners, charterers, P&I clubs, offshore oil and gas contractors as well as being the USA’s second busiest port. The independent contractor can make his own hours, decide when to work and who to work for. They do not depend on the success of any single business to produce an income. According to the Wall Street Journal, independent contractors earn between 20 and 40% more per hour than permanent employees. Contractors do not receive benefits from clients; the higher pay is meant to make up for this. Rather than having taxes taken out each pay period, independent contractors pay quarterly taxes, allowing them to hold onto their cash longer. Eric Peters certainly has a track record in delivering success for both small start-ups and larger businesses and believes that Faststream is well positioned to build on its presence in the USA and to expand its operations in the wider region. Canada and South America will also be on his business development radar as Faststream provides an increasingly global service to its wide client base. 11
  12. 12. STREAMLINE FOCUS SEAFARER SURGE Seafarers are usually the last to benefit from any improvement in a company’s financial prospects. The response to the shipping downturn has been the introduction of salary caps, redundancies and a general focus on cost-cutting measures by managers. 12
  13. 13. WINTER 2013 But with the shore-side sector reporting the beginnings of growth, what has been the impact on seafarers this year? The demand for seafarers in the offshore, cruise and LNG sectors is rising is the message coming from many of Faststream’s clients. According to Adam Graves, manager of Faststream’s UK based seagoing division, clients are taking a longer term view of seafarer employment and asking themselves whether or not their seafarers will be able to be the senior shore based staff of the future. This has led to more opportunities opening up for both experienced and junior officers. And for many northern European employers this has meant a greater focus on the more expensive northern European seafarers. Employers can afford to be very choosy about who they employ and are looking for the top 10% candidates. Adam Graves says: “Many companies are growing and realising that they need to make long term plans. However, they are really looking for the leaders of the future and not just someone to quickly fill a position. From the seafarers’ point of view, it’s not just about the money. They want good sea to shore links, stable crew changes and good career prospects. Salaries come a close second.” This has led to companies taking a more sophisticated approach to seafarer hires. Rather than viewed as a short term, panic purchase, employers are now taking a more pro-active approach to hires. This has seen Faststream partner up with a range of clients to both attract and screen candidates in a way which was previously only seen for shore-side positions. The sorts of candidates most in demand are typically not actually seeking a new position, requiring a targeted and sophisticated approach from employers. This more sophisticated and professional approach to the employment of seafarers has of course been hugely improved with the arrival of the Maritime Labour Convention earlier this year. It is not only shipmanagers who have been impacted by the legislation, but also recruiters. Faststream has been audited by the UK’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and is MLC compliant, rubberstamping practices which have been in place at Faststream for many years. A MORE SOPHISTICATED APPROACH TO SEAFARER HIRES MLC IMPACTS RECRUITERS TOO Under MLC recruiters are required to provide contract workers with an assurance that they will cover repatriation costs and loss of earnings for two months in the event that a client goes out of business. It also means that all contracts supplied to seafarers contain clauses covering the client’s MLC compliance, flag of vessel, access to repatriation, trip length, payment intervals, health and safety, risk and preventative measures. It is Faststream’s duty to ensure that the seafarers have read and understood these contracts. However to date, much of Faststream’s focus has been on European seafarers who had already been enjoying decent living and working conditions aboard ships. The creation of a level playing field for the world’s 1.2m seafarers is really having an impact on those who had previously been allowed to work in conditions that would not have been deemed acceptable by today’s standards. Seafarers are now better informed than ever before as to their rights and less prepared to accept poor working conditions. The superyacht sector, although not associated with the exploitation of its workers, is feeling the impact of MLC. Many in the industry are concerned that the MLC is a set of regulations designed for the commercial sector and pinned on the superyacht sector, especially with regards to crew accommodation and single berths. From a recruitment point of view, the MLC has forced the less professional employment agencies to raise their game and bring in practices found in other areas of the industry. There are around 4000 commercially registered yachts of 40m plus requiring a crew of between 10 and 15 and demand for these crews remains strong. A professionalisation of superyacht recruitment will make the sector more attractive to commercial seafarers. The growth in seafarer demand from the offshore sector is one which has been recognised by seafarers and Faststream is seeing more applications from candidates already in employment. There has also been a surge in candidates investing in training on their own account to help secure a position in the offshore sector. Whether it is an offshore survival or dynamic positioning course, many candidates are taking steps to transfer across to the booming offshore sector. But Adam Graves wonders if these candidates have left this too late. “I would advise seafarers looking for opportunities in a new part of the industry to have a careful look at the LNG or cruise market.” Please support the Sailors’ Society Typhoon Haiyan Relief Appeal by donating via http://www.justgiving. com/sailors-society 13
  14. 14. STREAMLINE FOCUS HOW TO ATTRACT THE RIGHT CANDIDATES CASE STUDY – NORTHERN MARINE MANAGEMENT Why are some companies more successful at attracting high calibre candidates than others despite being based in the same area, being of a similar pedigree and offering similar salaries and working conditions? 14
  15. 15. WINTER 2013 Quite simply, it is down to candidates’ perceptions of the company and the way in which the company projects its brand. Glasgow based Northern Marine Management, the ship management arm of the Stena Group, was one such company which wanted to understand how it was perceived by potential recruits and to raise its status in the eyes of these candidates. Faststream was commissioned to undertake research and advise on a profile raising strategy for Northern Marine Management. The first step was to understand what potential employees thought of the company. Telephone research was undertaken by Faststream. Many candidates outside of Glasgow were simply unaware of the company, and those that had heard of Northern Marine Management thought that it just managed Stena ferries. In fact the company manages 75 vessels across a range of asset class, two thirds of which are not even part of the Stena fleet. It has growth plans which will see up to 15 new vessels and three new ship groups created by the end of 2014. WE ADVISE CLIENTS TO TELL A STRONG STORY MISPERCEPTIONS There was little understanding of the company’s career structure, history and stability of the company. Northern Marine Management is a well established company with a 30 year pedigree that has never really felt the need to market itself to win new business. It has enjoyed growth and runs an extremely professional and highly regarded business. However, by not paying attention to marketing, the company has a low profile amongst potential shore-based technical staff. Faststream then spent time with a range of Northern Marine Management employees to understand their view of the company. The employee research interviews allowed a reallife insight into working for Northern Marine Management and to build a more realistic view of employee feelings towards the business. Faststream project manager Matt Devine says: “We wanted to understand why the employees had chosen to come ashore; what had attracted them to Northern Marine Management; how their perceptions of the company had changed since working there; whether or not they felt that their careers had progressed since joining and whether or not they would recommend Northern Marine as an employer. At the same time we interviewed senior management to understand what they wanted to achieve with the business.” The research enabled Faststream to develop an employer brand which focuses on the issues which really matter to potential candidates and plays to Northern Marine Management’s strengths. Centred on the slogan “Your future. Our future”, the new campaign will focus on the size of the fleet, how people are valued by the company, Northern Marine Management’s financial stability, the high levels of staff satisfaction, the company’s great facilities which include a gym as well as the opportunities for professional growth. Matt Devine says: “We advise clients to tell a strong story. What is it about your company which is going to attract the best employees? Think about how outsiders perceive your company and make sure that your key selling points as an employer are highlighted on all your corporate material and easily found on your website.” The new look Northern Marine Management campaign kicks off in 2014 and will involve printed and online advertising, social media, a careers section on the company website and changes to the way in which job descriptions are written. 15
  16. 16. UK Headquarters The Quay 30 Channel Way Ocean Village Southampton SO14 3TG Tel:+44 (0) 23 8033 4444 Email: info-uk@faststream.com @faststream ASIA - Pacific Faststream Recruitment Pte Ltd 10 Hoe Chiang Road #08-01 Keppel Towers Singapore 089315 Tel: +(65) 653 27 201 Email: info-sg@faststream.com @faststream Fort Lauderdale 100 NE Third Avenue Suite 605 Fort Lauderdale Florida 33301 Tel:(+1) 954 467 9611 Email: info-us@faststream.com @faststreamUSA Houston One Riverway Suite 1710 Houston Texas 77056 Tel: +(1) 713 396 7288 Email: info-us@faststream.com @faststreamUSA STREAMLINE www.faststream.com