The recruitment strategies of the United Kingdom's shore-side maritime industries

  • Sean Tarver

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


In the last ten years there has been increasing concern about the drop in numbers of experienced British merchant ship officers. This short fall in manpower will have serious repercussions on the recruitment strategy of United Kingdom shore-based shipping support organisations. These employers have relied upon a supply of former ships' officers to recruit into various key jobs. Research has shown that demand is expected to exceed supply, and there has been much debate concerning a solution to the problem. This thesis is an analysis of the shore-side maritime industry's recruitment strategy in the light of this forecast shortage of experienced ships' officers. It aims to make a substantial contribution to the debate concerning recruitment pre-requisites into the industry and increase understanding of the reasons why employers prefer to recruit former ships' officers. There are two 'strands' in this thesis. First of all this work provides a broad, qualitative analysis of the situation. It focuses upon the recruitment of seafarers into the shore-based maritime industry, the supply of and demand for seafarers and the reasons for their decline in numbers. The work uses data that has been generated on the maritime labour market to argue that the industry needs to train non-seafarers for certain key jobs instead of recruiting former officers. Theories and concepts originating from experts on skill shortages are used to show that the industry is unlikely to react in time to the shortage to prevent wider damage to the UK's maritime sector. Therefore this work supports the idea that non-seafarer training schemes are feasible for some types of work, and also need to be supported by the State in order to preserve the pool of experienced officers. Secondly, the arguments put forward by employers and employee bodies are analysed to ascertain why they believe it is necessary that former seafarers have to be employed to carry out certain key jobs. This work also argues that there are other reasons besides those given as to why employers do not see the training of non-seafarers as a good alternative. The situation in the industry is tested against two models of 'professional power'. A new model of professionalism was created in order to develop understanding of how and why maritime occupational groups try to exclude non-seafarers from shore-based marine related work. It concluded that there is a mobilisation of bias within the sector against non-seafarers entering an industry that predominantly favours of those who have ships' officer experience
Date of Award2001
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

Cite this