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Maritime: An industry where opportunities abound

By Tan Beng Tee

The maritime industry’s transformation is creating a new wave of exciting careers. It could be the perfect opportunity for those in search of a purposeful career.

The workforce that is emerging from the pandemic is different from the one that entered it. At a recent forum for maritime HR leaders and practitioners organised by the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), advisory firm Ernest & Young presented the EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey, which suggested a shift in priorities of what companies and talent value in work. Diverging viewpoints between employers and employees can result in a mismatch of expectations across pay to purpose. This incongruence could have contributed to the churn—or what some have called “the great reshuffle”—that the market for talent has seen over the past three years.

That said, this reshuffle may also create opportunities for both employees and industries. As workers leave their previous jobs in pursuit of new careers, anecdotal accounts suggest that beyond pay, the talent pool today is also weighing two other factors—purpose and passion. This means that as these workers begin their search, industries also need to adapt.

Maritime: A purposeful industry on the cusp of transformation

If job seekers look to Singapore’s history—an island nation with a maritime heritage that traces some 700 years back—the maritime industry, which is on the cusp of a major transformation as it embraces technology and ESG (environmental, social, and governance), could be just what they are looking for. 

The maritime sector continues to be resilient and an indispensable pillar of world trade, moving more than 80% of goods across the globe. It is an industry that ensures that food and essential items are available at supermarkets and stores. 

Despite significant external challenges, maritime remains a vital and resilient industry. 

In Singapore, the public and private sectors work collaboratively to seize opportunities and grow the industry. This cooperation between diverse stakeholders for a common cause is a hallmark of Maritime Singapore. 

One such quest is the grooming of young talent for the industry. This year, 32 organisations from a broad spectrum of the industry such as port operators, shipping companies, maritime service providers, and Institutes of Higher Learning collectively raised S$1.7 million for 54 MaritimeONE Scholarships. This amount surpassed last year’s record of S$1.1 million, awarded to 46 students.

Even as the quantum of scholarships contributed by the industry increases, the awards have also become more diverse; reflecting the growing need of the industry to build a team with different skill sets as the industry transforms and embraces digitalisation and decarbonisation. In addition to maritime studies, MaritimeONE scholars are pursuing fields ranging from computer science to data analytics to industry and systems engineering. 

Refreshing the face of maritime

To change the perception of maritime as “traditional” or “staid”, SMF recently partnered with the industry to launch an Own Your Future campaign to highlight some of the changing roles in the sector.

One such role highlighted in the campaign is a maritime data scientist who makes sense of large datasets to create visual dashboards for shipowners, allowing them to better monitor their carbon emissions and identify areas for improvement in their sustainability efforts.

Nurturing maritime’s greatest asset—people 

For all its large ships and mega ports, maritime’s greatest asset is its people. In this aspect, SMF partners with the industry using platforms such as scholarships, internships, case competitions, a career portal and more, to develop a talent pool to propel the sector forward.

For jobseekers willing to keep an open mind, maritime offers purposeful careers at the intersection of world trade and the global supply chain. With ambitious plans in areas such as sustainability and embracing technology to catalyse change, a career in Singapore’s maritime industry means the opportunity to contribute to an essential sector that moves the goods that the world needs.

For talent looking for fresh challenges and a fulfilling career, the maritime industry offers a compelling and purposeful proposition. 

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