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Survey finds crew employment market has tipped in favour of seafarers

Survey finds crew employment market has tipped in favour of seafarers
Sam Chambers November 21, 2023

Crewing specialist Danica has revealed the results of its latest seafarer survey, which clearly show wages for men and women working at sea are on the up.

Salaries are up by “at least” 10% since the last survey was carried out two years ago with Danica sensing the crew employment market has tipped in favour of seafarers.

Across senior officer ranks salaries have increased some 10-15%, regardless of nationality, compared to results from 2021. Salary figures are particularly strong for the top four ranks on dry cargo vessels.

Other takeaways from the survey include the interesting news that the wage gap is narrowing between Filipino and Eastern European officers, while Indian senior officers on dry cargo vessels are receiving salaries 10% higher than their Eastern European counterparts.

Salary rise is the most common reason for seafarers switching shipping companies, the survey indicates.

“We are witnessing a wage spiral like we saw leading up to the previous financial crisis. The root cause for these wage increases is the combination of a general shortage of very competent seafarers and a better financial situation for most vessel owners which is making employers more generous with remuneration,” said Henrik Jensen, CEO of Danica Crewing Specialists. “And, with a surplus of job offers, seafarers can afford to be picky.”

Seafarer shortages are more evident in certain ranks. The Danica survey identified bosuns, cooks and fitters as being in high demand, with salaries up 10% as a result, while Ukrainian fitters have had pay increases of up to 30% due to a huge shortage.

In the face of such strong competition for crew, owners must ensure their seafarers are treated well. Yet the Danica survey revealed that as many as 36% of the respondents, drawn from the worldwide crewing marketplace, claimed their salary was not paid on time – a rise of 7% since 2021 – with 8% saying they did not receive their salary in full.

Worryingly, 23% of seafarers who responded to the Danica survey said they had experienced a shortage of food or drinking water during their recent voyages.

The 64,354 seafarers in Danica’s database of applicants were invited to participate in the survey. In total, 6,228 seafarers responded making it one of the broadest surveys of its kind in the industry.