Is your dream job one that is fun, gratifying, pays well and is able to fund your travels? Fret not, we may have the perfect job for you. Presenting to you none other than the maritime industry.
The maritime industry is often one that is overlooked and misunderstood by students and jobseekers. Some people feel that they need to be a sailor in order to be part of the industry, but in fact there are many other shore-based jobs such as in automation, robotics, data analytics, engineering, legal, finance and more.
The maritime industry may not appear as glamorous as other sectors, but there’s so much more to it. In this guide, we shall open your eyes to this wondrous industry.
1. Travelling the world for free
For the adventurous souls with a love for the seas: Are you constantly looking to satisfy your wanderlust? If you think that the world is your oyster, seafaring may just be the job you are looking for. You can get to visit new places and countries while on the job, and this essentially means you’re getting paid to travel!
A study by Washington State University reported that participants regularly travelling at least 75 miles away from home are seven percent happier compared to those who reported travelling very rarely or not at all. Therefore, this is why you should take up a job that gives you the luxury to travel.
2. A unique working experience
For those who want something unconventional: Do you have the urge to break away from everyday life and experience something new and unknown? Instead of working in a nine to five job with little to no flexibility, why not try out seafaring.
Seafaring is unpredictable and there’s no two days that will be the same. There will also be lots of unforgettable experiences like your very first sailing assignment and even saving lives at sea. This is perfect for those who are up for a challenge!
3. Every new friend is a start of a new adventure
Other than getting to travel, you will have the opportunity to work with like-minded people from different nationalities and backgrounds. You will get to broaden your horizon and forge friendships that may last for a lifetime.
4. Work hard, play hard
According to the Ministry of Manpower, the annual leave entitlement for an employee in the first year of service is seven days. This will increase to up to 14 days after eight years of service. On the other hand, seafarers get up to four months of holiday per year as compensation from being away from home for long periods of time. Isn’t it great to work for eight months and rest for four months?
5. Good money and crazy bonuses
According to Kenneth Lim, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)’S Assistant Chief Executive, “Salary-wise, most of these jobs, especially for individuals with a few years of experience, provide wages comparable to or higher than the median in Singapore.”
Other than the good wages, the bonuses given by shipping companies are out of the world. In 2021, Evergreen Marine Corp. reportedly handed out year-end bonuses with some receiving a whopping sum equivalent to 40 months’ worth of salary since the shipping company had a super profitable year.
6. Being part of something much bigger
80 percent of the world’s trade is transported by sea, making the maritime industry one of the most important industries in the world. Your efforts on a daily level will be clearly visible, and you know that you play a part in moving important cargoes and goods around the world.
As a small country, our shipping and port sector is vital to our economy. In addition, maritime is at the root of Singapore’s history. As such, working in such an impactful industry will give you a huge sense of purpose.
7. A life after seafaring
The life skills gained from seafaring such as leadership, management, team building, resilience and dedication are what stick to you for a lifetime. Coupled with the technical skills and knowledge gained such as engineering which are easily transferable, you will be extremely employable and highly sought after in other industries after completing your journey as a seafarer. Your experience would also open doors to shore-based management roles like marine or technical superintendents.
8. Keeping your rice bowl full
“Even amidst Covid-19, the maritime industry has remained resilient,” said Kenneth. With job security, you would not need to fret about stability and progression in your career in the industry.
Besides providing secure employment, the maritime industry is also highly driven by technology. Historically, working in the maritime industry means “slaving” in a tiring and labour-intensive role but times have changed. As new technology such as big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain and automation emerge, new and unheard-of positions are waiting to be filled by job seekers with the right skills.
Kenneth also shared that “Maritime is going through an accelerated pace of digitalisation and decarbonisation, catalysed by the pandemic’s impact on global supply chains and a heightened focus on environmental sustainability.”
Given the rapid developments in the industry, automation systems engineers, software engineers, data scientists, chemical engineers and other individuals with technical skillsets will continue to be in high demand. This will tap onto skills such as engineering, operations, info-comm technology, programming etc.
9. Something out there for everyone
There is also demand for essential skillsets such as accounting and finance, business, communications, economics, marketing, human resource management, logistics, procurement and law.
For those pursuing a path in business, there’s a variety of shore-based roles in maritime companies for you such as sales managers, business developers, investment analysts, business analysts and even business risk specialists.
A guide to working in maritime by MPA shared the stories of graduates from non-maritime related courses who had established themselves in the maritime industry. Grace Lian, an economic student who interned in Oldendorff’s chartering and port operations subsequently joined the maritime company. Thinking back on her journey, she described the experience as rewarding since “the work is dynamic and no day is the same”.
Chu Yun Sil, the CEO of Mooah, was originally a lawyer who decided to innovate in the area of transport and storage safety. She leveraged her legal experience in trade regulation and supply chain safety. The start-up uses data analytics and artificial intelligence to detect undeclared dangerous goods and chemicals onboard vessels.
The examples show that you do not need to come from a maritime related course to work in the industry. Individuals from non-maritime backgrounds can definitely add value to the fast-growing industry.
The maritime industry is constantly evolving and changing, bringing about an abundance of opportunities for job seekers. And the fact that there is something for everyone regardless of their education and experience is indeed the biggest charm of the maritime industry.
Photo credit: iStock/thitivong