A lack of top digital talent is a cause for worry in many sectors, but right now nowhere is that more pressing than in the shipping industry. Many companies are struggling to attract tech savvy employees for a number of reasons. One of which is that candidates with technical skills are often millennials  - and these workers are prone to demanding a different relationship with their potential employers. So with the maritime industry often being seen as less than cutting edge, how can we tempt a newer wave of recruits through its doors?

The problem is that not only are shipping companies facing issues when it comes to competing with other industries in recruiting digitally clued up talent, they’re also having problems retaining any that they do manage to employ. So how can technology recruitment in the maritime industry evolve?

Does the maritime industry even need techie employees?

Frankly it does - just look at the statistics which state that over the last 12 months and in the majority of the main maritime sectors 24% of new hires (as tracked by LinkedIn) were classified as 'technical recruits'. But take a closer look at that data and it shows that the shipping industry is only attracting a tiny percentage of the top technical talent of other industries.

And digitisation is set to be a huge part of shipping, moving forwards. Safety at sea, improved logistics processes, more streamlined recruitment and crew management, tracking shipments in real time, and being able to predict maintenance will all benefit the industry massively. But who is going to be there to develop, code, implement, operate and troubleshoot the systems that make all of that possible?

Attracting digital talent in the maritime industry

It all boils down to the fact that millennials and Generation Z have higher expectations when it comes to the merging of technology with their working lives. They expect things to be made easier by technology - and therefore their time at sea. Fair enough: this is the generation that has grown up with computers, smartphones, anywhere-anytime-connectivity and social media. And the shipping industry is notorious for being somewhat traditionalist.

Say what you like about these two demographics but if the shipping industry wants to attract these ambitious and demanding candidates, it’s going to need to learn how to engage with them. This wave of new recruits is more inclined to embrace new trends and they’re more likely to look for a new position online or by using a recruitment app than previous generations. The shipping industry needs to keep up if it is to attract younger and more forward thinking people.

Is it all about image?

These are image conscious times we’re living in and insiders in the industry have suggested that the maritime industry needs to work on its sex appeal for new, digital-savvy recruits by making it look less steeped in tradition and more high-tech. For that to happen it would seem that attitudes need to change. Another key factor in making this happen, and increasing the amount of technically skilled employees in the workforce is for ship owners and managers to start thinking about up-skilling their existing people through training and education.

Whether you’re a ship owner looking for new crew members or a seafarer searching for a vacant position, take a look at our page for employers or our job listings for seafarers and let Martide take the stress out of recruiting top talent and finding your next career move.