Sea Asia 2021: Staying Ahead in the Race for New Talent

As maritime evolves to embrace digital transformation and sustainability amid a global environment that is becoming more complex, talent remains key to its growth.
On the final day of Sea Asia 2021, SMF Board Member and Director of MPartners Lee Keng Mun moderated a session comprising panellists Mark Charman, CEO and Founder of Faststream Recruitment Group; Adonis Garefalakis, Director of People and Culture at The Signal Group; Linda Murray, Global Director of Human Resources & Facilities at AET; Lakhbir Singh, CEO of Orient Maritime Agencies; and Yi Jun Mock, Co-Founder & President of Advisory Singapore.
Drawing on their diverse background, the panellists shared their perspectives on shifting employment trends and how maritime can enhance its appeal to young talent, especially millennials and Gen Z.
The Evolving Aspirations of Talent
It comes as no surprise that the nature of work has morphed with digitalisation. This ranges from organisational structures to employee’s expectations and requirements, a phenomenon further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic which has given time for people to “think and reflect on their priorities”, says Mr Charman. With its long history, Ms Murray highlights that the maritime industry has a “great proposition,” but the issue lies with its marketability. Her sentiments are echoed by Mr Charman, Mr Mock and Mr Garefalakis, who observes that talent seek purpose-driven and ESG-conscious organisations.
Business owners such as Mr Singh, have adjusted their hiring processes to cope in this dynamic climate. Mr Mock highlights how employees are now shifting from the pursuit of work-life balance towards work-life integration. Besides seeking work that “aligns with their mission”, “lattice mobility” that affords individuals to explore a variety of experiences beyond their job title is another area that youths are drawn towards. Interestingly, Mr Mock notes that instead of a generational divide between the work expectations of youths and seasoned individuals, it is the “same tendencies manifesting in different ways”.
The Competition for Talent
According to Mr Charman, come 2024, millennials and Gen Z will comprise 72% of the talent pool. Appealing to their interests has never been more pressing, especially in the race towards securing the best talent. One factor is a strong brand, says Mr Charman and Ms Murray. Citing MSC as an example, the organisation is “oversubscribed for talent” because they are leading the charge around green technology, a mission that resonates strongly with the crowd.
Upon attracting the right people, organisations must provide them with opportunities to grow and inculcate a global mindset. Built upon international connectivity, a globally oriented corporation will be better equipped to “deal with challenges and attract talent from different sectors”, Ms Murray states.
Providing Maritime with a Facelift
However, building maritime’s brand is no mean feat. Mr Singh observes that the breadth of maritime makes it challenging to elucidate what the industry is about to young entrants. Without a foundational understanding, selling career opportunities will be a tougher task to undertake, a point Mr Mock concurs, noting that there is low awareness amongst youths.
Yet this does not spell doom for maritime. Pivoting towards digitalisation, decarbonisation and sustainable development goals offers maritime a much-needed facelift. In fact, Mr Garefalakis feels that by branding maritime organisations around technology, the sector will continue to blossom. Riding on this new wave of change, Mr Mock believes in instilling a “love for the sea” among youths and viewing maritime as a passion.
In her concluding thoughts, Ms Murray cautions that a strong sustainability branding may bring in fresh faces but “making sure that diversity is rich within the organisation” is what makes them stay. As the world is increasingly interconnected, maritime must open its arms to welcome the experiences of individuals rowing in from other industries.
The race for new talent is not a sprint but a long marathon. To stay ahead of this race, maritime will require carefully calibrated action by various actors within the ecosystem. Green recruiting will undoubtedly be one of maritime’s key messages and Singapore is well poised to deliver it.
Head over to the MSC Office career portal to find your future in Maritime Singapore.


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.