More maritime career possibilities for Singapore job-seekers

The government-funded Maritime Singapore Connect is ramping up efforts online and offline to assist more jobseekers.

While the global maritime industry is currently experiencing a recession, calmer seas appear to be ahead of Singapore job-seekers within the sector.

Seven major Singapore maritime companies recently (August 18) attended the second Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Careers Workshop, where they offered career advice and even job opportunities to over 100 undergraduates and early-career professionals.

Where last year’s workshop was only open to students from maritime and engineering fields, this year’s event welcomed students from all disciplines, as well as working adults with less than two years of work experience.

Talent acquisition and HR leads from the seven companies, namely Jurong Port, Maersk Singapore, Pacific Carriers Limited, PACC Offshore Services Holdings, PSA Corporation, QBE Insurance (Singapore) and Western Bulk, spent over three hours interacting and networking with potential hires during the event.

Besides a busy cocktail networking function, the event also saw these organisations breaking into individual rooms, where they introduced their companies and business activities, described their ideal candidates and skillsets, and answered many of the participants’ burning questions in 30-minute sessions.

“We’ve termed this event a workshop, because it’s more about fact-finding and exposure,” Regina Lim, Senior Manager at MSC tells HRM Magazine, when asked if any actual hiring will take place at the event itself.

“Some companies are looking to hire, if not always on the lookout. Some companies might actually be open to accepting résumés, and we won’t stop them, but the way we have framed it is even if they are not hiring, they can share their careers page and a recruitment contact point for the participants,” Lim adds.

The workshop follows the recent launch of the new MSC website last month, a one-stop resource for information of interest to students and job-seekers.

Individuals are able to upload their résumés as an indication of their interest in internships or jobs, and maritime companies in Singapore would use the website to contact interested candidates whenever a suitable role arises.

In fact, the MSC office was set up last year with a S$4 million commitment by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore to complement efforts by the Sectoral Tripartite Committee for Transport (Sea) to attract more Singaporeans to join the maritime industry, following feedback from the industry.

“We wanted to create a free platform for both job-seekers and maritime employers to be able to find one another. This website is meant to serve anyone, regardless of whether you are mid-career or in the industry or not,” says Lim.

But she says the careers workshop is a great way for individuals and organisations to connect in person, beyond the website. It also helps to promote the maritime industry, which Lim shares is not always the most popular career choice among today’s youths, despite the fact that it contributes to 7% of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product.

Furthermore, the Tuas Mega Port, to be opened progressively from 2021 and fully completed in 2040, will see thousands of jobs created in the sector, making maritime an ideal career path.

Ang Yen Ting from SIM/University of Birmingham, a graduate in International Business Studies, was one participant who has become more keen on joining the marine industry, after spending time speaking with the different companies present.

“As a fresh graduate, I was keen to learn about the various jobs available that would benefit me,” she says. “The interactive session provided insights from people from all walks of life and who are all now in the maritime industry. It was an eye-opener and it now gives me an avenue in finding the right job.”

For employers, the maritime-focused event also provided a much-needed publicity avenue.

“Our talent pool is a critical success factor in our drive to becoming the next generation multipurpose port operator. We are always keen to share with interested parties the exciting career opportunities within Jurong Port, says Ms Venny, Deputy Manager of HR at multipurpose port operator Jurong Port.

“The MSC Maritime Careers Workshop provides us with an engaging platform to reach out to a diverse group of talented jobseekers,” she added.

Sigrid Schrødter Teig, Chief Process Officer and General Manager of Western Bulk, a leading dry bulk shipping operator headquartered in Oslo, with offices in Singapore, Seattle and Santiago, says the maritime industry is evolving as with many other industries today, so it is key companies “tap into pools of talent not traditionally associated with shipping”.

“We are happy to partner with the Maritime Singapore Connect Office for this event to showcase the wide range of opportunities of employment this great industry can offer; we need everything from traders and programmers to lawyers and risk managers!,” says Teig. 

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