Engaging next generation industry leaders in Young Professionals Club
“The marine industry is an extremely exciting place to be at this time,” James Ward enthusiastically points out. “Technological development is accelerating all over the boat and yacht building markets. Foiling, electric propulsion, integrated electronics for navigation, domestic functions and automation are all being developed to the next level in a high pace. At one point the marine industry is lacking behind: to make known that it is such a great sector to work in and to keeping young talented professionals inside the industry.”
Ward is the founder and CEO of Marine Resources, a recruitment agency specialising in offering jobs in marine companies and attracting people to these jobs to work in this industry. In this capacity, he co-organises the Young Professionals Club (YPC) meeting space at METSTRADE. “We have challenge: young professionals do not consider most companies in the marine industry as attractive employers. As a result the demographics of the boating business show rising age. Some of us are a bit blind to this, because most of the people working in our sector are here because of our love for boats, yachts, sailing and being on the water. As much as we enjoy working with leisure craft every day, company directors don’t see that there is more that needs to be taken into account to be an acclaimed employer. We often do not understand what millennials want from a job.” A lot of companies do their best to create working conditions that appeal to young professionals. It seems that a lot of entrepreneurial small businesses offer the right kind of atmosphere that is attractive to the next generation of professionals. Start-ups are considered fun companies to work, because you can take an active role in developing the product and the company and see your personal achievements reflected there.
The Young Professionals Club at METSTRADE will be a spot on the show floor where people come to network, get advice and connect with the recruiting company during all three days of the trade show. James: “We want to add young professionals to our network, so they can be on our radar for interesting upcoming opportunities. We hope to offer them a springboard. YPC is a big focus for us on METSTRADE. It gives us the chance to monitor what is going on in the minds of the next generation of decision makers. We like to be ahead of that as a recruiting company.” There will be a timetable of events at the YPC. One of the events will be a round table discussion, not with industry veterans but with youth. What do they see as the future of yachting? They are going to be the ones to make this future, where do want to go and do they think this is the way that yachting and boating will develop?
YPC is for people working at marine companies that are under the age of 35. Ward considers this indeed a critical age. Most people are definitely building a career at that age, but they can also be in the marine industry for ten years by that time. A lot of young people started working at boat builders, yacht building yards or at marinas because they like being involved in boating and being on the water themselves. It is often that the skills people develop during the first years of the professional activities, come to their benefit when they leave as thirtysomethings to work in other industries. “We do annual surveys to get a clear picture of the salaries paid in this sector,” Ward says. “This can then be compared to salaries in other industries.” Of course, the pay check is also an important motivation to stay in the boating business.
“The marine industry should be aware that young professionals have the energy to propel change and development. Even if the typical skills and experience are not developed yet, it is important to give young professionals the chance to get involved and make that change. The momentum in the marine sector is very big now. Young people can learn the skills and gain the experience. Their energy and vision are needed to keep up with all the changes in boating and yachting. This way, the sector might be able to have products and services to offer for the next generation, that may desire new levels of comfort, safety, connectedness and service to go out for a day on the water.”
The YPC network can be joined online in a group on social media platform LinkedIn.