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Nautilus Social Conditions Survey: Respect for maritime professionals

11 January 2022

Nautilus has been surveying its members for 30 years on the respect given to them in the vital roles that they play at sea. The Union believes that these measures act as a barometer upon which wider conditions in the profession can be judged.

It is pleasing to see improvements on a number of these key measures, both this year in the Nautilus Social Conditions Survey and over previous decades.

However, despite modest progress, the proportion of seafarers who feel able to influence fleet company policies remains far too low, despite nine out of 10 respondents believing that they should be given this opportunity.

It is also disappointing that fewer seafarers now see themselves as integral members of the company's management structure, despite the critical role that they play on their vessel. While the responses reflect a wider cohort of seafarers than just those in the most senior positions, the 40-60 split also exists across deck and engineer officer roles. Even among masters, just over half (56%) saw themselves as integral members of the management structure.

As chief engineer we have the responsibility but zero authority to implement actual policy change, or even to suggest policy changes Nautilus International Social Conditions Survey 2021

Do you consider you are given the resources required to meet the responsibilities expected of you as a skilled maritime professional?

 

2021

2010

2001

1991

Yes

76%

62%

62%

40%

No

24%

38%

38%

60%

Do you consider you are given the authority to meet the responsibilities expected of you as a skilled maritime professional?

 

2021

2010

2001

1991

Yes

78%

68%

71%

59%

No

22%

32%

29%

41%

Do you believe you are provided with sufficient opportunity to influence fleet company policy as it affects your employment?

 

2021

2010

2001

1991

Yes

39%

34%

28%

23%

No

61%

66%

72%

77%

Do you believe you should be given this opportunity?

 

2021

2010

2001

1991

Yes

89%

95%

82%

78%

No

11%

5%

18%

18%

Are you regarded by your employer as an integral member of the company's management structure?

 

2021

2010

2001

1991

Yes

40%

50%

50%

40%

No

60%

50%

50%

60%

The decline in the proportion of respondents who feel that they are regarded as members of the management structure is accompanied by a considerably starker drop-off in involvement in key decisions. This situation remains consistent among officers, including chief engineers and masters.

There is a clear risk that this decline in the influence of frontline seafarers on company policy will lead to a disconnect between management decision-making and the operation of vessels.

Are you involved in finance and policymaking decisions relating to...?

 

2021

2010

2001

1991

Your ship

Yes

38%

94%

90%

91%

No

62%

6%

10%

7%

Your fleet

Yes

9%

63%

54%

58%

No

91%

37%

46%

38%

The company

Yes

7%

48%

37%

38%

No

93%

52%

63%

58%

Do you consider that you should be involved with such decisions relating to…?

 

Yes

No

Your ship

83%

17%

The fleet

42%

58%

The company

30%

70%

It is also problematic that just 58% of seafarers reported that their employer acts in a fair and non-discriminatory way when considering career progression.

Do you believe your employer acts fairly with regard to career progression/promotion, regardless of ethnic background, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or age?

Yes

58%

No

28%

Don't know

14%

 


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