Internet Access, A Key Benefit For Senior Staff – Seafarer Survey
According to a Seafarer survey, it is not only the salary that determines the seafarers’ selection of employer but the fringe benefits also play a key role in this selection made by the crew and the senior staff.
The survey shows that availability or access to internet, both paid and unpaid, is one of the most needed facilities for the seafarers today. The other benefits are medical insurance, pensions, and paid certification.
A Hamburg based crewing specialist, Danica conducted the Seafarers’ Employment Condition Survey 2019.
About 10,000 seafarers participated in this survey which was conducted between May and September 2019. The majority of the seafarers who were a part of this survey were senior officers and over 50% had 24 months or more experience in their present rank.
The survey showed that crew vote with their feet- they are willing to move to different companies if they get a better offer. However, the survey also showed that in spite of this workplace mobility, most of the seafarers were happy to recommend the most recent company as an employer.
While the findings were being announced at this week’s Crew Connect Global event in Manila, Danica Managing Director, Henrik Jensen, said: “It is our experience that access to the internet is a very important parameter when seafarers are selecting an employer.
“Our survey shows that 80% of the seafarers who do not have internet access today would move jobs in order to get it. This is a huge warning to those shipping companies who do not offer crew internet access on board their vessels,” he said.
Talking about the reasons behind the survey that was open to the database of Danica of more than 37,000 crew members in Eastern Europe, he said: “In Danica, we wanted to better understand the actual conditions Russian and Ukrainian seafarers are employed under, as well as how they act in the employment market. We were keen to hear from all seafarers, not just those placed in their positions by Danica – so our results are representative of the whole of the Eastern European crew market.”
The responses provide interesting reading. The survey found that:
About 50% of the crew members that responded have free access to the internet
19% of the seafarers have the costs for the renewal of their national licenses paid.
Medical insurance is a part of the remuneration package for 15%.
About 55% of the seafarers have worked for two or more companies in the last three years.
However, 45% have had only one employer in the past three years
73% of them would recommend a friend to join the company they last worked for
74% would change jobs for a higher salary
Joining a younger vessel and having a shorter contract period is equally important (47% – 45%)
32% would change jobs to get access to the internet
Medical insurance and pension are also important parameters.
Mr. Jensen said: “The high percentage of seafarers willing to recommend their employer is a much higher number compared to engagement statistics for office workers in Germany, for example. In general, the seafarers are happy with their employer, which highlights the fact that there are other factors at the heart of their reasons for changing employer so frequently.”
Bringing together the advantages of employing a crewing agency to recruit and place the seafarers, the survey showed that 55% of the database seafarers of Danica has not faced concerns relating to the workplace that are serious. However, it has been found out poor treatment still happens among a large number of respondants, the survey found:
15% experienced they were not paid on time
14% faced a violation of rest hours rules
12% felt they had stress
11% were not relieved on time
9% faced a shortage of food or drinking water
5% had to pay a commission to get employment
5% worked under unsafe conditions
Mr. Jensen commented: “This is unacceptable and it is not surprising that some seafarers are job jumpers.”
Training, both at sea and onshore, is largely welcomed by seafarers. The survey showed that:
52% of the seafarers received training provided by their company when they were at home
55% of seafarers have attended a company seminar
59% of the seafarers who received training found it very or extremely useful
Mr. Jensen observed: “This onshore training and seminar provision means that about 25% of these seafarers have met directly with their company staff during their home period. This is a positive move and one we would encourage to boost retention, industry standards, and crew morale.”