Shipping, Shortages and Generation Y

shipping analysis and trade
Published 10/02/2008 by Dr Stephen Cahoon

Reports are rife with the challenges facing the maritime industry in terms of the increasing skill and knowledge shortages. Such labour shortages are endemic in all industries as the impact of slowing population growth and an aging workforce is placing burdens on recruitment, human resource development and the maintenance of corporate knowledge.

As a result, maritime universities and institutions are now finding that their graduates are in hot demand as companies look toward the younger generation to seamlessly fill their skill and knowledge requirements. However, this generation, commonly known as Generation Y are a different demographic to the previous Generation X and the Baby Boomers.

This paper explores the human resource and education challenges facing the maritime industry as they employ Generation Y graduates, some of which are now in their mid-20s. Generation Y enter the workforce as being more educated and technologically adept than their parents, and when combined with the current labour shortages, find themselves highly employable.

Generation Y are being noted for their different work ethic, expectations, values and beliefs; having high levels of confidence; and a greater focus on a work/life balance. Generation Y is the workforce of the future and to ensure they are productive contributors for the organisation, attempts need to be made now on what motivates them if they are to be attracted and retained in the maritime industry in the new age of less company loyalty and increased job switching.

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