Recruitment within the yachting industry is somewhat different to more 'mainstream' recruitment, and if you are someone who uses yacht recruitment agencies, there are a few differences that you need to be aware of.
Land-based agencies charge an average of 15-30% of the annual salary, where as yacht recruitment agencies charge around 8%. For an entry level crew member on 2,500 EUR, this could result in a minimum of 4,500 EUR (based on 15% of annual) being taken in charges.
The use of retainers is very common ashore. Companies pay agencies upfront (either the whole fee upfront or sometimes half paid to start the search, half paid upon placement) to conduct a search and they pay for the consultant’s time to head hunt. If adopting this process, they will not go to multiple agencies and therefore there’s not the 'rush' of competition. This means more time and focus can go into sourcing the right candidate and they should therefore receive more of an exclusive service.
When time allows and especially for senior or more complex roles (where a headhunting approach may be more applicable), could this be a way forward in yachting?
We heard recently from a captain who reported spending most of his evening sifting through 30+ CVs for a senior role from five different agencies – even coming up with a shortlist of candidates in this situation is a task in itself! Had he been able to put his trust in one good agency who had already been compensated in some way to deliver a high level of service, he could have received the shortlist of just a few candidates who were all pre-vetted and ready to go.
This of course would not be possible in all situations, and this leads nicely onto the next point…
Companies ashore often have a lot more time to find candidates – they usually receive at least 30 days’ notice from departing staff (if not three months) and they are not restricted by things like safe manning documents or a guest trip starting yesterday. Where time is short, it can understandably put pressure on yachts to hire, which can sadly lead to the wrong match – give agencies as much notice as possible and make sure they spend time getting to know you. The yachts that we know well we can recruit for very quickly as we have a much better idea of the type of crew member they require.
Of course this is important for companies on land as it is on board yachts, however companies ashore usually do not have to worry about their employees sharing a bedroom or eating dinner together every night! It therefore is not usually such a vital part of the recruitment process for agencies ashore when matching candidates to jobs. Yacht recruitment companies, however, should be digging a little deeper into candidate personalities, again really getting to know both candidate and client so they can make the best match possible.
These are just a few of the differences we have noticed, and through our ongoing external recruitment training we are always learning and feel there are pros and cons to both areas of recruitment. We aim to pick out the best from both worlds to maintain and to continue developing best practice. It is a huge topic and is one which we are happy to discuss any time with new or existing clients. We are always keen to receive feedback, discuss ideas and see if there are ways in which the recruitment process can be improved, in turn offering the best possible service within the industry.