Attracting the next generation

To ensure that the maritime industry will continue to employ well-qualified, committed people in the future, we support the industry in the battle for bright minds and young talent.
28 January 2022
Jule Ballhausen

Jule Ballhausen

Young Talents

Phone: +49 40 9999 698 - 85
E-Mail: Ballhausen[at]

Digitalisation and new ways of working will permanently change many job profiles. The demand for skilled workers will decrease in the future, but there will still be more available jobs than skilled workers. Even today, it is not easy for companies, or even entire sectors, to recruit enough young people. This situation will continue to get worse. And it will also affect the maritime sector.

The search for suitable new recruits must be intensified so that our experienced colleagues can pass on their knowledge before they retire and ensure their expertise stays in the maritime industry. That is why we must now address the issue of attracting young talent and take appropriate actions.

To ensure that the maritime industry will continue to employ well-qualified, committed people in the future, we support the industry in the battle for bright minds and young talent.

If the maritime industry wants to attract young people to maritime professions and employers, it needs to present itself with a message, a feeling, satisfied employees, real stories and good benefits. With issues that are important for the next generation.

First survey results – descriptive statistics

• 466 junior-level employees (N) participated in the survey. The sample is composed of 332 male participants (71%), 133 female participants (29%) and one person of non-binary gender. The majority of 382 participants (82%) belong to Generation Z; 81 participants (17%) to Generation Y and another 2 participants to Generation X. [Members of Generation Z were born between 1996 and 2009, members of Generation Y between 1981 and 1995 and members of Generation X between 1966 and 1980.]


• The respondents were divided into 205 vocational trainees, 153 college students in (dual) maritime studies programmes (such as nautical science, marine engineering, etc.), 80 entry-level employees and 28 students from other dual degree programmes (such as international management and business administration) in the maritime industry’s cooperating companies.
• Only 32 of the participants (3%) said that the industry that they worked in was not at all important to them. By contrast, for 181 participants (39%), the choice of industry was very important; it was quite important to another 160 participants (34%).


• 340 of the participants (73%) said they had been fascinated by the maritime world from an early age.
• 243 of the participants (52%) had found out about opportunities in the maritime sector on their own initiative.

• Company and university websites were the primary sources used to gather information (77%). Generally searching the internet was the second most common option (64%).
• The majority of participants would like to be able to find more information about professions, courses of study etc. in social media (70%). Long-term prospects (53%) and working conditions (46%) are particularly important to them.

Background: The German Maritime Centre is planning a comprehensive analysis of the individual target groups and the perceptions of the maritime industry from both inside and outside. We will start with an online survey of young people who have already chosen the maritime industry: apprentices, students in traditional university programmes and students in dual work-study programmes as well as young professionals in maritime jobs, maritime degree programmes and in companies, institutions and organisations in the maritime sector.

We want to find out why they chose the maritime industry and what factors conditioned and influenced their decision. What expectations or values were decisive? What characteristics of the sector, the activities, the degree programmes or the companies are important, attractive or even unappealing? How do they get information, and what background and interests do they have? The answers should help us to understand the needs and wants of young maritime professionals and to find out what strengths they see in the maritime industry.

The results of the survey will serve as the basis for further action. We want to ask the next maritime generation, the current school students, what they know about the maritime industry and whether they know about its diversity, opportunities and strengths. We want to ask parents and teachers whether they consider the maritime industry as an employer for young people and bring it closer to them.

We hope to be able to show the German population the good side of the maritime industry. We are looking for hints on what we need to change to bring the sector more into the public eye.

Creating a positive image is what is important for us. What keeps employees in the industry, what motivates them, what do they find special and unique? What stories can they tell?

Together with the maritime stakeholders, we want to identify the best and most powerful arguments for engaging with the maritime industry and transform the authentic internal perception into an authentic external perception.

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