Compensations and Benefits: Key Insights and Best Practices

The SMF Connexions Forum provides a platform for maritime HR professionals to discuss topics of shared interest.

On 26th September, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) collaborated with FastStream Recruitment Group, a global firm specialising in talent acquisition for the shipping, maritime, and energy sectors, to host the SMF Connexions Forum 2023. Nearly 100 human resource leaders from across the maritime sector, as well as partners from institutes of higher learning (IHLs), attended.  

Mr. Hor Weng Yew, Chairman of the Singapore Maritime Foundation, welcomes the industry’s human resource leaders and professionals to the SMF Connexions Forum.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Hor Weng Yew, Chairman of the Singapore Maritime Foundation, highlighted the vital role that talent plays in business transformation and continuity, and expressed his appreciation to the HR professionals for supporting SMF’s programs to build a talent pipeline for the industry.  

Maritime Employment Trends 

Mr. Mark Charman, Chief Executive Officer of FastStream Recruitment Group, shared key insights and best practices in the area of compensations and benefits in the maritime industry.

Taking the stage, Mr. Mark Charman, Chief Executive Officer of FastStream Recruitment Group, presented on the topic “Compensations and Benefits: Key Insights and Best Practices”. Mr. Charman drew on key findings from recent talent reports published by FastStream to outline the following trends:  

The Rising Significance of Talent Attraction and Retention 

Compensation and benefits have transcended their traditional confines within human resource to become a key topic in boardroom discussions, which indicates the increasing centrality of talent to maritime businesses today. Addressing challenges such as a highly mobile workforce, segments of employees approaching retirement, and highly specialised sectors with limited candidates, employers are prepared to offer competitive packages to secure top-tier talent. 

Rewards: A Different Perspective on Compensations and Benefits 

Moving beyond a “one-size-fits-all” compensation and benefits package, designing a truly rewarding career by examining the emotive factors underlying an employee’s specific needs could be more effective in anchoring existing employees. Mr. Charman cited how aspirations could vary from individual to individual— while an older employee might prefer cashing in unused leave, a younger employee could choose to make use of the time off to travel. Making the case for the human element, Mr. Charman recommended for companies to survey employees to create a menu of rewards that appeal to them.  

A Balancing Act Between the Bottom Line and Rewards 

For companies seeking to alleviate the effects of rising cost-of-living and inflation, distributing bonuses could be a useful way for companies to make one-time payments without raising fixed costs.  

Communicating Rewards: People Cannot Value What They Do Not Know 

Amidst the increasingly competitive rewards landscape, it is more important than ever to bridge the expectations of employers and employees to create meaningful, hyper-specific rewards. “People can’t value what they don’t know,” Mr. Charman shared as he encouraged human resource professionals to take the lead in driving conversations with company staff on compensations and benefit

Consolidating Best Practices 

Mr. Charman concluded his sharing by touching on the key steps that maritime companies could take. Emphasising that overpaying would not necessarily result in greater engagement, improved motivation, or more loyalty, he recommended the following: 

  1. Creating annual reward statements which communicate the details of individual payments to employees; 
  2. Hosting focus groups between employers and employees to discuss benefits; 
  3. Over-communicating benefit schemes to employees;
  4. Benchmarking pay raises against the market to re-recruit existing employees; 
  5. Engaging in frequent micro-raises and micro-recognition throughout the year. 
The SMF Connexions Forum also serves as a platform for maritime HR professionals to connect and engage in meaningful conversations around industry practices.

For deeper insights on key topical issues in the maritime sector, such as the evolving talent market or workforce transformation projects spearheaded by SMF with the industry, visit SMF’s publications page to download useful reports such as “The Talent Market in Transition” and the “Maritime Workforce Transformation Guidebook”. 


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The 2022 SMF New Year Conversations that took place on 13 January 2022 was graced by Guest-of-Honour Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Transport & Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations. Over 250 industry leaders across the breadth of maritime attended physically and virtually.
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Thank you to our industry partners for your strong support.

Mr. Lars Kastrup


Mr. Lars Kastrup is the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd (PIL).

Prior to joining PIL, Mr. Kastrup was CEO of NOL/APL, and subsequently assumed the role of Executive Vice President, Strategy and M&A at CMA CGM Group. A veteran in the global shipping industry with over 30 years of experience, Mr Kastrup’s other roles include Executive Vice President of Assets at CMA CGM Group heading up CMA Terminals, CMA Ships, Container Logistics as well as regional carriers such as MacAndrews, OPDR and Mercosul; as well as Vice President at AP Moller-Maersk.
Mr. Kastrup complemented his tertiary education with leadership and management training at Penn State University and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Angeline Teo


Ms. Angeline Teo is the Managing Director and Head of Global Transportation and Offshore, Global Corporate Banking at OCBC Bank which focuses on the maritime, aviation, land & port ecosystems.
Ms. Teo has spent over three decades in maritime finance. Prior to OCBC, Ms. Teo was working at ING Bank, ABN Amro and DnB in Singapore focusing on maritime and offshore.
Ms. Teo graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in Business Administration.

Mr. John Martin


Mr. John Martin began his career in London in 1989 with Richards Hogg Lindley Average Adjusters, and qualified as a Fellow of the UK Association of Average Adjusters in 2000.
At RHL he worked in their offices in Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In 2003 he joined Gard Hong Kong, as a claims handler. Mr. Martin also worked in Gard Japan, and in 2014 he moved to Singapore to set up the Gard Singapore office.
Besides running Gard Singapore, Mr. Martin also heads the P&I and H&M claims units and is the Senior Claims Representative for Gard in Asia.

Mr. Cyril Ducau


Mr. Cyril Ducau is the Chief Executive Officer of Eastern Pacific Shipping Pte Ltd, a leading shipping company headquartered in Singapore for the past 30 years.

He is also currently the Chairman of Kenon Holdings Ltd and a member of the board of directors of Gard P&I (Bermuda) Ltd. and of the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation Limited, which was established by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. He was previously Head of Business Development of Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited in London from 2008 to 2012 and acted as Director and Chairman of Pacific Drilling SA between 2011 and 2018.
Prior to joining Quantum Pacific Advisory Limited, Mr. Ducau was Vice President in the Investment Banking Division of Morgan Stanley & Co. International Ltd. in London between 2000 and 2008.
Mr. Ducau graduated from ESCP Europe Business School (Paris, Oxford, Berlin) and holds a Master of Science in business administration and a Diplom Kaufmann.