Similarly to other industries, the shipping industry is facing a serious skills gap and therefore a challenge in filling jobs at sea. The maritime technology sector is undergoing a demand for top talent in coding, development and Artificial Intelligence – but where are the people to fill those needs?

With 90 percent of the world’s goods being transported by sea, that means that reliance on the industry and its vessels isn’t going anywhere!

In addition, the knock-on effect of that is, of course, an even greater need for crew members. But the role of the seafarer has changed: our world is increasingly digitized and just as the tech sector is requiring more from its recruits than knowing the rudiments of IT and how to reboot a server, so too is the maritime industry expecting more from its people.

The seafarer’s skill set is changing

Not only are shipowners and managers expecting today’s seamen to have competencies in traditional aspects of seafarer jobs, but they are now requiring a greater level of maritime technology know-how too.

And this is leading to challenges within maritime recruitment.

Just like offices, warehouses and factories, digital technology is invading life aboard ships, as well the bases of their onshore coworkers. New technologies are taking over our homes and workplaces, and smart maritime technology is having a huge effect on shipping companies and seafarers and the responsibilities that their jobs at sea now entail.

One aspect of forward-thinking shipping companies that many new recruits may take enjoyment from, is the use of computer games in teaching navigation skills. This is just one, thoroughly modern, way that new technologies have affected the training of new seafarers.

Learning to guide huge ships through hectic shipping channels and into bustling ports via a “game” may have the more traditional seafarers of yore turning in their graves, but these days it provides valuable experience for future crew members.

Innovation is an advantage – not a burden

Technology isn’t going anywhere, in any working environment, and it is seen by many to be giving the maritime sector the shot of vitality it needs to retain and boost its efficiency. But in order to keep up with the changes, the industry needs forward thinking, and more importantly, qualified seafarers to handle that thinking and the ensuing changes.

An example? Just think how much easier communication would be between crew and shore staff if they were using digital technology and software solutions to stay connected.

How technology can help shipping companies

Many of us automatically fear the words ‘evolution’, ‘change’ or ‘future technologies’. We like things to stay the way we’re used to. But by empowering seafarers with the digital skills they need to handle the technological aspects of their jobs at sea, automating boring tasks and allowing them to focus on the core of their role, can only be a good thing – for both ship and crew.

Shipping companies who embrace life in the digital age will find that efficiency – and their bottom line – is improved when they harness the power of technology.

At Martide, we love technology! If you’re a shipowner or a ship manager we can help your crewing operations run more smoothly through our Software as a Service solution which will help you do everything from  finding global talent to filling your vacant jobs at sea to tracking applicants to managing your minimum safe manning numbers and wage scales. Ready to get started? Let’s talk.

Eve Jones for Marine Startups