Reimagining the Employee Experience for the Post Pandemic Workforce

Since its inception in 2016, the annual SMF Connexions Forum has been a platform to connect HR leaders and practitioners across the maritime industry. The forum facilitates discussion of best practices surrounding the attraction, engagement, and growth of talent. This year, the SMF Connexions Forum was held on 28 November 2022 and was attended by nearly 100 maritime HR professionals.

SMF Chairman Mr. Hor Weng Yew opened the event by emphasizing the vital role that HR leaders and professionals play in partnering management and preparing the workforce to respond to changes that are taking shape post-pandemic. 

SMF Chairman Mr. Hor Weng Yew delivers his opening remarks on macro trends that influence current workplace practices in the sector.

Following the Chairman’s welcome remarks, Mr. David Lee, Assistant Director of SMF’s Corporate Communications and MaritimeONE Connect Office shared how HR professionals can partner SMF to attract, engage and grow a talent pipeline for the sector.

Mr. David Lee recaps key SMF-led initiatives to drive youth engagement in the industry.

The next item on the agenda was a presentation by Mr. Goh Jia Yong, Partner at EY’s People Advisory Services. Titled “Reimagining the Employee Experience for the Post Pandemic Workforce”, his presentation drew upon key findings from the EY 2022 Work Reimagined Survey which revealed a shift in what companies and talent value in work. During his sharing, Mr. Goh dived into ways the work experience could be tailored for new generations of workers.

Mr Goh’s Presentation

In his presentation, Mr. Goh shared that the expectations of employees have evolved significantly in recent years. The employees of today greatly prioritise flexibility in where they work, when they work, how they work, and who they work with, and are even willing to change jobs for more flexible working arrangements. 

Mr. Goh added that the industry is now facing unprecedented headwinds. COVID-19 has exacerbated operational challenges and workload issues faced by both seafarers and on-shore staff. Furthermore, increased efforts in sustainability and digitalisation mean that new capabilities are being demanded of the maritime sector, which puts additional strain on the industry to transform. Trends such as increasing carbon taxes, analysing big data to tackle complex challenges, and switching to greener energy are not only indicative of businesses evolving – they also highlight how jobseekers are now in search of purposeful roles. 

Mr. Goh Jia Yong giving a presentation on the topic “Reimagining the Employee Experience for the Post Pandemic Workforce”.

Mr. Goh wrapped up his presentation with a call to action for job and career redesigns. These would require the support of a whole ecosystem including the government, industry associations, educational institutions, labour unions, international organisations, and collaborations with other sectors.

Panel Discussion

Following the presentation, a panel discussion featuring three maritime HR leaders – Ms. Madeleine Seletto, Head of HR Business Partnering & Commercial, BHP; Ms. Tay Ai Lin, SVP, Global HR at Ocean Network Express (ONE); and Mr. Gael Rochais, HR Director, South Asia & Oceania, Wilhelmsen, was held. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Goh.

Mr. Goh Jia Yong moderating the panel discussion comprising speakers Ms. Madeleine Seletto, Ms. Tay Ai Lin and Mr. Gael Rochais.

A theme raised during the panel discussion was that the increased demand for remote working could pose an obstacle to promoting a cohesive work environment. In response, the panelists collectively agreed that employers should instead put forth the benefits of working from the office to their employees. For example, a team that works together in the same office enjoys unique benefits, such as better teamwork and forging connections outside of their immediate team. Notwithstanding the perks of in-person working, the panelists maintained that it is important to seek feedback from workers to determine what truly constitutes a conducive office environment from an employee’s standpoint.

The panel also touched on ways in which managers in the maritime sector could improve their company’s appeal to their prospective employees by taking a people-oriented approach. Rather than marketing maritime as the hottest industry, it might be useful to dispel negative stereotypes associated with various fields within the maritime sector. To increase the value of the jobs that maritime offers, companies could alternatively promote personal and professional development of new hires, by helping workers to hone their expertise through their resources and on-the-job mentorship.

To leave the audience with more food for thought, the panel addressed the ways that diversity, equity, and inclusion could be improved in the maritime sector. It was generally agreed that while workplace diversity can be enhanced by implementing policies that enhance diversity and inclusion, these values could be demonstrated in practical ways by making conscious efforts to ensure that workers of all demographics have equal opportunities to participate in projects.

Mr. Hor Weng Yew presents speakers with “A Light on The Straits”, a collection of photos of Maritime Singapore by National Geography lensman Michael Yamashita.


Inaugural MSC Maritime Digital Challenge Grand Finals Prize Presentation

Over 129 tertiary students across 35 teams took part in the inaugural MSC Maritime Digital Challenge that seeks to plug Singapore students with a passion for technology into the maritime industry.
Students from the Singapore Management University and Nanyang Polytechnic were announced as winners of the challenges posed by Eastport Maritime, Kanda and Torvald Klaveness at the Prize Presentation held on 13 November 2021.

MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021

Three challenge statements, 35 teams, 129 students and 12 finalist teams from 4 universities & 3 polytechnics. Catch behind-the-scene highlights of the MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021.

Singapore Maritime Foundation | MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021

Catch highlights of the MSC Maritime Digital Challenge 2021. We thank Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport Mr. Chee Hong Tat for being our Guest-of-Honour at the event.

SMF New Year Conversations 2022: Year-in-Perspective Video

The past two years of learning to live with Covid-19 has been challenging, but Maritime Singapore has remained resilient. What are the fundamental tenets that attract companies to anchor their business in Singapore and grow their operations here? And what more can be done to leverage on Singapore’s strengths to enhance its attractiveness as a global business hub for maritime companies? How will the Singapore Maritime Foundation organize its work around Connectivity, Innovation and Talent to strengthen the maritime ecosystem? Find out in this Year-in-Perspective video.

SMF New Year Conversations 2022: Opportunities Amid Disruptions

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.
Singapore was announced to have secured the overall top spot as an international maritime centre for the fifth consecutive time in the DNV-Menon Leading Maritime Cities 2022 report.
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.