Coronavirus and shipping jobs – what’s the impact?

The Covid-19 health crisis has caused widespread disruption around the world, bringing some market sectors to a near-halt and freezing thousands of planned hires across the international workforce.

 

As some countries begin to tentatively ease lockdown restrictions, what’s the outlook for job-seekers in the shipping and energy markets?


  • A global slowdown

 

The protective measures taken by governments to control the spread of covid-19 has significantly impacted almost every area of the global shipping and energy sector, and this has been reflected clearly across recruitment and hiring programs.

Live vacancies on job boards, company careers sites and other industry publications have been down to approximately 30% of what they were in January, with companies delaying offers and pausing key hiring decisions for up to three months. 

Many container lines have been impacted by inability to load or discharge cargo in various ports, putting huge strain on their global operations and profits. This has had knock-on effects across the supply chain, with import and logistics companies hit hard by the slowdown. 

At sea, thousands of people have been stranded onboard vessels, some going months without seeing their loved ones at home and enduring worrying uncertainty. This limited movement of mariners has restricted hiring activity on the whole. 

There have also been widespread reports of lay-offs in the oil and gas sector, where decrease in demand for fuel and petrol during lockdown has significantly impacted profit margins of oil and energy majors. 

  • Opportunity amid adversity 

 

Despite the severity of these effects, however, there are some shoots of positivity beginning to emerge as governments gradually seek to re-open their economies while managing risk. 

Although the majority of shipbroking companies have suspended hiring due to restrictions on movement of cargo, for example, many are taking this opportunity to create new broking desks, and are holding private conversations with experienced brokers who could open up new markets and geographies. 

Across the board, as commitments by governments to reinvigorate economic activity are pledged, companies are beginning to defrost hiring projects, even if official start dates for roles remain subject to postponement. 

At Cordell Beaumont, we have recently re-launched the search for a number of private senior positions across ship management, shipbroking and trading. We continue to offer our support to a range of clients and candidates across shipping, energy and commodities, and have been helping companies with remote working plans, online interview set up and training, and salary benchmarks. The increased availability of candidates, many of whom are on furlough or working restricted hours, has also been helpful in creating time to discuss career plans. We are speaking to a range of senior candidates who are currently working from home to explore their career aspirations and lay foundations for plans once markets re-open fully. 

We have also formally launched our Executive Search practice, dedicated to the selection and appointment of senior-level professionals across commercial, strategic and financial disciplines within the global market. 



As signs of economic recovery emerge, we will continue to support our client and candidate base in matching talent and opportunity during these challenging times. 

We hope all of our friends and partners across the shipping, commodity and energy sectors stay safe and protected, and look forward to working together as market activity recovers.