Junior-level Salaries in Sharp Decline

20 March 2009 By Kate Lardy

Rupert Connor, president of Luxury Yacht Group, shared some interesting trends in crew employment during his talk at the State of the Industry conference at the International Superyacht Symposium (held in conjunction with Cruise Shipping Miami) on Wednesday, March 18.

In the junior roles, there has been major salary discounting, he reports. For the first time in years, there are newcomers who are happy to work for $500 in monthly take-home pay – a figure not seen since the 1980s. There is very strong competition for these jobs. When asked if the trend was coming from the candidates wanting to get their feet in the door or the employers looking to save some money, he says it’s a combination of both, but that there is definitely desperation among some candidates who are willing to work for less.

Connor is quick to point out that this trend is not across the board; he’s not seeing many employers reducing salaries to that level and most of the 50-meter-plus yachts are sticking to similar or slightly lower figures than last summer. But what is interesting is that $500/month pay (with all expenses paid) is being offered and accepted by some – it’s on the table for the first time in many years.

At the intermediate level crew roles, he’s noticing strong competition between those without licensing. Also, longevity is being rewarded at this level.

Salaries at the top senior level are only in modest decline but there are the fewest new opportunities at this level.

“To any captain walking in the door who says that they require €15,000 a month, I’m telling to take a sabbatical and try again next year,” says Connor.