Mediterranean Job Market Trends

An Antibes perspective, with trends courtesy of The Crew Grape Vine.

The overcrowded pre-season rush is something that most crew members have dealt with. Certain periods of the year have gained a reputation for being the “prime time” to get onto a boat for the busy season ahead. Although it is a time when there are lots of jobs available, it is also  a fiercely competitive time of the year.

The job market is not always predictable, but being a well-informed job seeker will only work to your benefit. At the end of the day it comes down to you, what type of boat you aim to work on and how you think your qualifications, commitment and suitability compares to others competing for the same positions. Below we look at some trends observed by The Crew Grapevine Crew house based in Antibes. These trends may give some insight as to what time of the year will present the best opportunities for you. The crew house has seen thousands of crew come and go over the last few years and these trends have been observed through daily interaction with those actively involved in the industry.

Crew Related Trends:

First trend:

Yachting Continues to Grow. The 50,000 crew afloat in 2016 needs to grow to 80,000 by 2020 just to keep up with demand from yachts planned or in build.  We need more crew!

Second Trend

The Seasonal peaks are flattening out. When the fleet was mostly composed of smaller yachts, half the industry was employed on a seasonal basis, but the rapid expansion in the size of the fleet (and the size of the yachts within it) means a larger percentage of full time jobs compared to seasonal jobs.

Third Trend.

US Immigration Hassles following ISPS (and now Trump) have  made it  more and more difficult to dockwalk in Florida.  As a result, more and more recruiting for the Winter season happens from the Med. This means more job opportunities and interviews during the Med “off season”.

Fourth Trend

A smaller percentage of yachts doing Double Seasons. The  post GFC collapse of the Caribbean Charter Market, means that fewer boats do the crossing.. It is estimated that only 5% of the fleet cross over to the Caribbean. This is good news for winter Mediterranean job hunters.

Fifth Trend

The Eastward Shift. The Chinese yachting market did not take off like many were expecting, but a growing percentage of the world’s billionaires are not from US and Europe, which means a growing number of yachts now head East to the Indian ocean for winter.

Most Recent Trends

SOUTH AFRICANS:

RSA nationals are becoming the dominant Nationality seeking to enter the industry. Limited job opportunities and a weak Rand, is encouraging young South Africans to work abroad and earn foreign currency.

GENDER DIVERGENCE

There is an increasing demand for / under supply of female job seekers  for deck, chef and interior positions, (typically none left by Mid -July)  and a year round over-supply of male job seekers  looking for interior and deck careers.

Average time in pre-employment in the Med according based on The Crew Grapevine observations:

FEMALES: Typically ( almost regardless of arrival date) most girls have work in 4 weeks.
MALES:  Typically (March to July especially longer) 3- 12 week entry period for guys.  (Males with a Yachtmasters qualification can be employed in less than 2 weeks)

The industry currently needs 2000-3000 crew annually at entry level.
But it doesn’t need them all to arrive here during the same 6 week period.

It needs a steady flow of new crew from December to September.
(There are also jobs available during October November, as a fifth of the industry change jobs every year at this time,  but the employment that occurs during this period normally prioritises those that have their first season under their belt, thus newbies tend to be overlooked).

So if the goal is to ensure the industry has the new crew it needs when required, and to direct the new crew to arrive here when most likely to find employment within the shortest time frame, then the following applies (based on The Crew Grapevine observations leading up to the end of the 2018 Med season):

January

  • Full time jobs start coming in.
  • Plenty of temp jobs of 2-6 week duration.
  • Not enough crew to fill the temp jobs.
  • Cheaper living expenses.

February

  • More full time jobs.
  • Plenty of temp jobs of 2-6 week duration.
  • Not enough crew to fill them.
  • Cheaper living expenses.

March

  • Plenty of full time jobs.
  • A few seasonal jobs coming in.  
  • Crew flooding in.
  • Overloaded crew houses, and agencies.

April

  • Over supply of crew.
  • Plenty of full time jobs, and a few more seasonal jobs coming in.  
  • Crew flooding into overloaded houses.
  • Overloaded agencies and crowded docks.

May  

  • Over supply of crew.
  • Plenty of full time jobs.
  • Lots of seasonal jobs coming in.  
  • Crew flooding into overloaded houses.
  • Overloaded agencies and crowded docks.

June

  • Plenty of full time jobs.
  • Many more seasonal jobs coming in.  
  • Crew still flooding into overloaded houses.
  • Overloaded agencies and crowded docks.

July

  • Still full time jobs.
  • Many more seasonal jobs available.
  • Crew start to thin out a bit.
  • March arrivals hit 90 days and go home.
  • Still lots of daywork jobs available.
  • Run out of female candidates by mid month.

August

  • Still full time jobs going.
  • Many temp jobs available replacing fallen crew members (injured, fired, went home) till the end of the season.
  • Lots of daywork jobs .
  • No female candidates anywhere!

September

  • Still full time jobs going.
  • Many temp jobs available replacing fallen crew members (injured, fired, went home) till end season.
  • Lots of day work jobs. Lots of day work toward the end of the month for Monaco Yacht Show.

October        

  • Huge crew shuffle.
  • Lots of crew change jobs.
  • Newbies can tend to be left out however as they are competing with the crew that got here in April and have the first season under their belt.

November

  • Crew shuffle normally complete by Mid month
  • Crew flood out of Antibes,  
  • New crew who are uncertain about winter jobs leave as well.
  • 2-6 week temp jobs start coming in towards the end of the month.  
  • Great opportunity for newbies.
  • Cheaper accommodation prices.

December    

  • More crew departing.
  • Jobs start to outnumber crew again.
    Those left are usually busy with temp jobs.  
  • Cheaper living expenses