Many manning agents who work with clients in the shipping industry are struggling to stand out amongst their sea of competitors. After all, manning agencies are two-a-penny in traditional port towns and seafaring nations. 

Outdated-looking websites or, worse still, no website, don’t do agencies any favors when it comes to attracting a new generation of seafarers. Social media accounts that haven’t been updated in years just look bad. And running operations through an unwieldy combination of Excel spreadsheets and physical files and documents is not efficient and doesn’t inspire confidence in the agent’s maritime recruitment process.

Some manning agents could benefit from looking at a new, improved and more up-to-date way of doing things.

And yes, that means embracing technology.

Why manning agents need to lean in to tech

No matter how many in the shipping industry may try and resist it, there’s no getting away from the fact that tech has a huge part to play if manning and crewing agents want to keep up.

Manning agencies are such an integral part of the industry that at Martide we didn’t only design and build our end-to-end software solution for small to medium-sized shipowners, we also included manning agents in there too. 

Our aim is simply to make maritime recruitment easier, faster and a lot more streamlined – for everyone.

And while job adverts are a big part of attracting candidates, having a fully functioning Applicant Tracking System to make the recruitment process a breeze – for both the employer/agent, and the seafarer, is a must too.

A clunky, manual process is only going to result in more headaches for staff as seafarers (almost literally) abandon ship and take their job search elsewhere.   

How Applicant Tracking Systems can help manning agents

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) were created to make anyone working in recruitment’s life a lot less stressful. And for manning agents, a big part of the job is to track the status of their seafarer candidates.

The good news is, at Martide we’ve made that quick and simple! We know that manning and crewing agents have any number of hopeful applicants to keep tabs on and that they need to support both the employer, as well as the seafarer, in a timely fashion.

Knowing where candidates are in the maritime recruitment pipeline is crucial. Luckily it’s also as easy as ABC when using a software solution – as opposed to Excel spreadsheets, notebooks and even post-it notes.

A truly great ATS will support your industry and all of its…quirks, shall we say! There’s little to no point using a tracking system that has been created for general recruitment. The maritime industry is so unique in the way that it hires that a software solution will need to acknowledge that.

For example, in Martide’s platform an agent will see not just how many candidates have applied to a position, how many have been hired, and the status of their application, they will also see the vessels, seafarer ranks, if any candidates are ex-crew, and the change over date.

They can also filter and sort vessels and vacancies to make it easier to find what they’re looking for as well as, of course, dig a little deeper into each candidate’s personal information, work experience, documents and certificates, and preferences – i.e. what vessel or engine types, or DWT they prefer and their availability date.

And like any good Applicant Tracking System, Martide’s software solution will also allow agents to approve stages in the recruitment process and take them to the next one so they can continue to approve the application. Or withdraw them if they feel they aren’t suitable for the vacancy.

Why technology is the way forward

Maritime recruitment, manning, and crew planning is complex and needs discipline if it is to be executed correctly and in a timely fashion. Using outmoded forms of organization and communication simply don’t translate into a successful crewing agency any more. 

And with a plethora of recruitment companies for seafarers to choose from, manning agencies who are still relying on Word, Excel and pen and paper, and who want to see their business thrive, really do need to start considering an alternative way of doing business.  

Martide for Marine Startups