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Attracting the Millennials and Gen Zs

Seafarer shortage in the maritime industry has been on the radar of the industry. Discussions aiming to close the gap focused on the acceleration of the training process and on promoting clear-cut career opportunities. While personal growth and the potential of a future career is something everyone is looking for, but is maritime an industry where millennials and gen Zs want to work in? See what the experts do to attract young people into the maritime sector:

Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, ITF

“ITF affiliates have a bit of an age profile issue. Unionism is connected with a stuffy image of a different period in a different time, so we’re looking and investing strongly in young people and frankly speaking, they don’t want to come on a Tuesday night to a union branch meeting. They want a different way of interacting and being accountable and responsible. So we’re looking at how can we… not change our policy bodies but create space for young people, men and women – or young men and women –, to have a conversation inside our union, inside our policy because – if I use the UK as an analogy – the most upset group of people about Brexit are the young people because other people voted on their future. We have to be careful, particularly in the labour movement, that the 50+ are not deciding about what the future looks like for the young people. We have to be open and transparent to hear their voice and create space for them because it will be their society and it will be how they want to choose to do things.”

KD Adamson, Futurist & CEO, Futurenautics

“Attracting millennials, gen Zs, and indeed the gen αs coming up behind them is a challenge that is faced by every single industry. And what every industry is looking for is creative problem solvers with an aptitude for technology. Now it’s quite interesting to me these days that people who want to change the world and have a purpose in their lives… You may in the old days would have thought that they’d go into politics, but what they’re doing now is to go into technology. And actually, these younger generations coming up behind they do want a purpose in their working lives. And what a lot of these technology companies have is a big hairy audacious goal – a big purpose, a massive, transformative purpose –, and that’s very attractive to the millennials and the gen Zs. Shipping has an awful lot wrong with it, let’s be really honest. There’s an awful lot of opportunity to change things for the better. And I think that if we can identify and state those big hairy audacious goals, that’s a sure-fire way of attracting millennials and gen Zs to help us solve them.”

John Lloyd, Chief Executive Officer, The Nautical Institute

“I think it’s really important that we promote a positive image of the industry. We know that we have some older tonnage, but we’ve got some outstandingly interesting modern tonnage from passenger ships to LNG carrier, going to Arctic regions, going to great holiday destinations. It’s a very vibrant, technologically advanced industry and we need to make sure the public sees that as well as the more challenging side of the industry. But it’s a career with great opportunities both at sea and on shore.”

Alexander Avanth, Future Education Specialist, Dare Disrupt

“I wear a pin for the UN SDGs, that is the Sustainability Development Goals, and I feel that these are some goals that I can stand for and seek to accomplish. I believe that the maritime industry, if they choose to strive towards the same goals, for example one of the goals if life under water, then it would be more attractive to gen Z and millennials.”

Yuzuru Goto, Managing Director, K Line LNG Shipping UK

“I think the main thing that I believe is the purpose of your organisation is basically the why – why are you doing what you’re doing? So that people feel that they’re a part of something larger than they can achieve by themselves. I think that’s the most important thing.”

Mark Charman, CEO, Faststream Recruitment Group

“So attracting millennials and generation Z to the maritime sector, I think, is a big challenge. I think some countries have promoted that well, Singapore for example. Singapore Maritime Foundation have done an excellent job of showing the potential career paths that young people could take in the maritime sector. I think that it’s something that other countries need to embrace. I think that it’s something that large organisations will need to continue to push to make the sector interesting and attractive to young people coming into it in the first place. And I think they’ve got to show the wide range of opportunities available to young people in joining the market and what they can actually achieve in their careers. So taking the seafarers from cadet to CEO, showing them the opportunities that are available. There are so many paths that they can follow when they come ashore, that are available to them in a wide range of companies in a wide range of locations. It’s a truly global market place – very exciting. But what we’ve got to do is we’ve got to promote these careers to young people.”

Karen Waltham, Managing Director, HR Consulting

“I don’t think that we celebrate the successes that we have in the industry. I think there’s an awful lot that can be done in terms of the success as an industry globally. Other organisations in other industries are very good at promoting what they do. I think we tend to sit on our laurels a little bit more. Going forward, I think it’s really important to spend some time attracting those into the industry that’s exciting. I think one of the issues we have is that cruise lines will have some success purely because more people go to sea on cruises. I think the challenge will be for those tanker operators, bulk carriers, and all the other maritime areas. But I think we really need to celebrate the successes of the industry itself.”

Glenys Jackson OBE, Manager, Merchant Navy Training Board

“With the Merchant Navy Training Board, we’ve recently produced a very short video with ITN, a major media and TV company in the UK. It is a short video, 90 seconds long. It’s not to be used on TV although some people have said that we should get it on TV, but no we shouldn’t. What we are doing with it is we’re using it through social media, a whole range of social media platforms that young people access and use themselves. It’s a very different video – it’s promotional. We’ve done videos of this nature in the past, but this has got a very different approach. […] It’s very hard hitting. It gives lots of interesting images, very nice captions, and it’s done in the style of a rap as well, so it’s very different. We’ve just got to engage in the way young people engage and that is through social media.”

CrewConnect Europe May 2018 Hamburg.
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