Singapore recruitment and future planning

Recent developments in the Singapore Shipping Scene
It’s a well-known fact that the overall shipping, oil and gas industry hasn’t been doing well. Retrenchment of local employees, outsourcing of functions to neighbouring lower cost countries, freezing headcount, etc have been unfortunately, a common sight this year.

Despite shipping not thriving well commercially, it is encouraging to see the strong commitment by the Singapore government and the local shipping community showing support, and working towards the continued growth of the industry in the long term through tax breaks and financial incentives.

MPA lending a helping hand
While the Maritime Port Authority (MPA) has already given port dues concessions to offshore support vessels since late last year, we are pleased to hear that from April this year they have extended the same concession to dry bulk carriers and a further concession to container vessels calling at Singapore.

While many of the shore-staff working in the shipping / offshore industry understand their work and are competent to perform well, they have little idea of the size and complexity of these vessels. Organised by the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), 2 Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) were berthed alongside Vivocity Waterfront for the public to visit. Many of our ex-colleagues and friends working ashore were thrilled by this unique opportunity!

Tripartite Engineering Training Award (TETA)
This year in May marked the graduation of the 10th batch of TNTA (Tripartite Nautical Training Award) officers. With the aim to encourage more Singaporeans to take up a sea-faring career, a new pilot program to place and train marine engineers, known as TETA has been launched. For the past decade, there has been a severe lack of local Technical and Marine Superintendents; shipping companies are facing a shortage of shorebased seafaring talent and hopefully with both TNTA and TETA launched, there will soon be more qualified and experienced marine Captains and Engineers to contribute to their expertise ashore.

Industry conferences / forums
We are seeing a good number of industry conferences / exhibition taking place in Singapore. Some of the more recent ones are APIC, Smart Operations and Digital Ships. We see international and regional stakeholders and industry professionals arriving in Singapore to participate in these events. It is great to see Singapore maintaining its place as a leading location for an extensive shipping network and shipping related activities.

Employment market now
More employment opportunities, but still the “employers’ market”

We are starting to observe more recruitment activity initiated by employers for both replacement positions and new roles. Recruitment is happening at all levels, from junior (with a few years of experience) to the top level management / director level. This is also happening across a broad variety of shipping roles, from commercial operations and chartering, to technical management, purchasing and crewing.

Employers are not only looking for people with the right skillset but are increasingly looking at soft skills, personality fit within the company environment and culture and personal attributes. A knock on effect of this is that it is becoming increasingly common for job applicants to be required to participate in online tests for personality or PI assessments as HR professionals are now better equipped to use the results as a good reference regarding an applicants’ suitability.

Shipping cycle
We know that shipping is cyclical although recent years have seen too many ups and downs for our liking. For the sectors that are depressed, it is important not to be too demoralised and to remember that recruitment still goes on even in tougher markets, we recommend giving additional focus to training and preparing for future challenges in order to set you apart from your competition. For the sectors that are doing well, let’s hope that continues and that these sectors keep business sustainable in the long term.

Thank you!
Wanni Oh, Halcyon Singapore

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