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HR experts pinpoint the shipping industry professions of the future

HR representatives from four major Cyprus-based companies involved in shipping-related activities recently revealed the sector professions that they consider to be the most in-demand.

Their recent comments to GOLD magazine were made as the seafarer labour shortage reached a 17-year high in 2023 with estimates suggesting that a whopping 800,000 people will need to be reskilled by the decade’s end.

The use of novel technologies like mixed reality and large language models, meanwhile, is also becoming more widespread, again requiring new skill sets for shipping sector professionals.

The experts share their views on the most in-demand positions in their companies’ specific segment of the maritime industry below:

Susan James, HR & Compliance Director and Giles Heimann, Shipmanagement and Operations Director, EDT

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Giles Heimann: With its multifaceted services, EDT caters to varied maritime industry services, including ship management, shipyard, drydock and office operations, each requiring a unique set of expertise. Offshore, pivotal roles encompass captains, marine engineers, electricians, DP Officers, and deck officers, indispensable for vessels' safe and efficient operation.

Susan James: Onshore, yard and drydock facilities require the expertise of health, safety and environment (HSE) specialists, naval architects, marine engineers, electricians, labourers, proficient office personnel, welders and fabricators, as well as new technological roles such as CNC Plasma Operators. All these roles necessitate diverse educational backgrounds, specialised training and certifications to ensure proficiency and safety.

Antigoni Pavlou, Head of HR, Intership Navigation Co. Ltd

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The maritime industry offers a wide range of career opportunities and some positions are particularly in high demand. As a ship manager, the most challenging positions, from a shore-based perspective, are technical and marine superintendents, sales executives and managers with a strong shipping background and even individuals with a good understanding of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues. We consider these very specialised positions in the ship management sector. Female talent is also becoming essential for the future of shipping and this diversity brings in skills.

Romanos Yiangoudakis, Head of Human Resources, Uniteam Marine

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In today's maritime industry, the demand for high-calibre seagoing personnel remains consistently high across all officer positions, particularly technical superintendent, vessel accountant, purchasing officer, crewing software administrator and marine travel administrator.

Elena Maniatopoulou-Hadjipanayi, Chief People Officer, Tototheo Global

Elena Maniatopoulou

In Tototheo Global's specialised segment – Maritime Satellite Communications – several critical roles support the operation and advancement of onboard communication technologies. In my opinion, the most in-demand positions include network support officers, who are key in handling monitoring and troubleshooting satellite communications products and systems. They ensure that systems are tailored to meet customer needs and resolve issues efficiently. Also in demand are marine electronics support officers, who provide essential remote support for navigation and communication systems on maritime and naval vessels, ensuring that these critical systems function effectively for operational safety and efficiency. Other positions include field service engineers, who have a hands-on role in maintaining navigation, communications and safety equipment on vessels across both regional and international waters, ensuring reliability wherever operations may lead, and satellite communications specialists, who manage the systems that link vessels with shore and other ships, maintaining continuous connectivity and optimising communication channels vital for operational coherence and safety. The role of the vessel IT officer has also grown in importance with the increased digitalisation of ships, overseeing all onboard computer systems integrated with communication technologies and supporting seamless operations.

(These interviews were part of the Cover Story in the May edition of GOLD magazine. Click here to view it.)

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