Title: Employment brand strategy for the shortage of seafarers

Authors: Vinh V. Thai, Timothy Latta

Addresses: Division of Infrastructure Systems and Maritime Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Block N1, Nanyang Avenue, 639798, Singapore. ' Westline Shipping, Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Abstract: The shipping industry is facing a global shortage of qualified seafarers. This research aims to answer two research questions namely how the shipping industry and its associated seafaring careers are currently marketed, and how the shipping industry can be marketed more effectively to enhance its image and attract and increase the supply of suitably qualified seafarers. Methodologies include a survey with current and ex-seafarers being students and lecturers at the Australian Maritime College, and in-depth interview with HR managers of ship management companies in Australia. It was found that the shipping industry has no or negative image in the public while current methods of marketing have very minimal effect. Meanwhile, there is also a gap in perception of seafarers and their employers with regards to the attractiveness of seafaring as a career, especially on career path options. This study recommends the development of an employment brand, providing an initial insight into the first two stages of such a development. It was also found that there is significant opportunity for the shipping industry to differentiate itself from other industries, and change the basis of employment competition for seafarers. It is therefore concluded that it is time for the shipping industry to think proactively.

Keywords: shipping industry; seafarer shortage; employment brand strategy; sailor shortage; qualified seafarers; qualified sailors; marketing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTL.2010.035502

International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, 2010 Vol.2 No.4, pp.411 - 428

Available online: 30 Sep 2010 *

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