At the Seatrade Maritime Crew Connect Global 2023, a survey encompassing more than 6,000 seafarers unveiled a notable salary uptick of 10 – 15% across senior officer roles, irrespective of nationality. Despite the maritime industry’s recent challenges, senior positions in dry bulk carriers saw substantial pay hikes owing to the demand for adept officers managing new regulatory requirements.
While the percentage increase might seem modest in light of escalating inflation rates in certain regions, for seafarers receiving salaries predominantly in US dollars, the exchange rate has notably boosted their earnings in local currency.
The current market landscape appears favorable for seafarers due to a shortage of skilled professionals, prompting companies to offer increased remuneration. However, projections for 2024 suggest a more cautious approach from owners of container and bulker ships, potentially impacting seafarers’ pay scales.
As the industry moves towards alternative fuels, a shift in the demand for specialized skills among seafarers is expected. Those proficient in fuel-saving technologies may witness heightened demand, likely resulting in wage increments, reflecting the industry’s evolving needs.
Despite these positive salary trends, the survey highlighted concerning aspects. A significant portion of respondents reported delayed or incomplete salary payments. Moreover, a considerable number faced hardships, including shortages of essential supplies and extended contract periods, delaying their return home.
CEO Henrik Jensen emphasized the dichotomy between ship owners—some value their crew as vital assets, while others view seafarers more transactionally, impacting their treatment and welfare.
While the rise in seafarer salaries marks a positive trend, the survey underscores imminent challenges within the maritime industry that necessitate attention and resolution for the welfare of those employed at sea.