19 December 2014
May 2013

Recruitment survey asks for more personable agents

The Crew Report
’s recruitment survey, sponsored by Nautic Crew International, produced some interesting, surprising and informative results. With the recruitment sector playing such a key role in the forward movement of today’s industry, and with an abundance of new crew flocking to these industry professionals to start life on board, we wanted to hear what existing crew felt about this increasingly important sector.

Asking crew to name their favoured recruitment agency or agencies, Bluewater came up trumps and was mentioned by 11% of crewmembers who took the survey, shortly followed by Luxury Yacht Group and YPI Crew, mentioned by 10%, with Nautic Crew International not far behind with 6%. Though today’s more familiar recruitment agencies found themselves at the top of the list an overwhelming 34 recruitment agencies were named, confirming there is an overpopulation of this market, with one crewmember acknowledging: “There is a lot of competition in recruitment.”

We asked crew what needs to change in the world of recruitment, and the top two answers were the ‘cannon-balling’, as one crewmember named it, of CVs to captains, as well as the need for more personable agents. One crewmember complained of recruitment agencies treating them as “cattle”, while another said, “We are not robots and any personal approach makes a huge difference in our work performance,” and a third noted: “Companies that provide a more personal experience are the ones that stand out.” However it seems the industry is responding to this demand; a number of crewmembers praised Nautic Crew International for leading the way in this necessary trend of a more personable service, with many describing them as the most friendly of agencies. One crewmember elaborated: "On a personal level I feel they are the most responsive when I have questions about positions advertised and they are genuinely interested in finding a suitable position for me."

There did seem to be an awareness of the need for professionalism, and credit lies with the crew who are asking for this. One captain declared: “People need to be more responsive and we need to get away from the ‘drinking buddies get the job’ system we currently have. Really, what other industries have happy hour?”

The ever-familiar topic of discrimination was highlighted as an area requiring change when it comes to hiring crew, as was the need for better checks crewmembers, captains, the rest of the crew and on-board living conditions.

A particularly interesting – and perhaps unexpected – area in need of improvement accentuated by the crewmembers who took the survey was that of today’s online recruitment portals. Many declared online resources needed to be fine-tuned to be better utilised, while one even suggested the establishment of a single online portal for all online recruitment needs.

We asked crew how to best secure a great new job in the industry; networking stormed ahead and was highlighted as the best route by 29 crewmembers, followed by the use of agencies and longevity in a previous job. However networking wasn’t the number one piece of advice today’s crew would give to new crew – this came third behind certification and the need for new crew to recognise the hard work they would be subject to.

We asked crew: Have you had any frustrating experiences in the world of recruitment? A much-too-big 79 per cent answered yes.

The most shocking figure to come out of the survey, however, was when we asked crew: Have you had any frustrating experiences in the world of recruitment? A much-too-big 79 per cent answered yes. And, upon further elaboration, this result found its roots largely in discrimination. The recommendation of bad candidates and false references were additional problems stressed. One crewmember declared: “I once took on a delivery crewmember, then before departure grew suspicious of his CV and discovered it was mostly fabricated. During the time he had apparently been skippering a similar sized yacht he was actually an insurance salesman in the UK.” Two crewmembers even told stories of being put forward for a job they had previously left, resulting in an embarrassing conversation between crewmember and owner; “It makes one look really stupid when you get a call from the owner saying, ‘So, I see you’ve changed your mind? And you want your job back?’ No thanks!” wrote the crewmember.

The survey proved very successful and stressed the multitude of facets that comprise today’s recruitment sector. We were thrilled to hear from so many crewmembers, and even more thrilled they were happy to share their stories with us. The iPad mini is on its way to its winner – First Officer Owain Rowlands of motoryacht Ulysees.

To take part in our current survey on superyacht agents (sponsored by the Association of Yacht Support Services), and for your chance to win an iPad mini, please click here. 

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