Top 10 In-Demand Jobs in the Maritime Industry

Shipyard with bridge and mountains in the background

Over the past five years, the shipbuilding industry encountered rough seas as demand fluctuated and funding declined, but the outlook for the next five years is much sunnier, with the industry poised to benefit from renewed funding for military ships.

As thousands gather for the International WorkBoat Show, which opens today and runs through Friday in New Orleans, it’s worth discussing how the industry will handle a dramatic uptick in shipbuilding and repair positions. Having a strategy to fill those positions — what kind of jobs will be needed and where the people to fill them will come from — will help the industry meet the challenge head-on.

Current industry landscape

Maritime employment has been shrinking since 2012, when the Department of Defense began a major reduction in the size of the U.S. armed forces in response to budgetary constraints and the proposed end to combat operations in Afghanistan. And of that smaller workforce, approximately 50 percent is aged 45 and older, according to economic modeling firm EMSI. Those factors combined indicate that any growth in the industry will come with a huge opportunity for new employment.

Filling those new positions will be complicated by the fact that the primary skillsets used in shipbuilding and repair professions are also in demand in other industries. More than a quarter of all pipefitters, for instance, are already employed by plumbing and HVAC contractors. Around half of all electricians are employed by contracting companies as well. Employers looking to hire these in-demand professions will need to have a keen grasp of regional market pay rates and also be prepared to make a case for any other competitive advantages their companies offer.

Since the nature of the industry often requires companies to conduct large-volume recruiting efforts on short notice, they can maximize their success by working with a staffing partner like Aerotek that has deep roots in the maritime industry, a well-filled pipeline of experienced job candidates and, via 250 offices across the U.S., nationwide talent reach.

Here are the jobs for which competition is already intense, and likely to increase:

Top 10 In-Demand Maritime Jobs Nationwide
  1. Electricians
  2. First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
  3. First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers and Repairers
  4. Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters
  5. Machinists
  6. Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers
  7. Production, Planning, and Expediting Clerks
  8. Mechanical Engineers
  9. Industrial Engineers
  10. Electrical Engineers
Source: EMSI 2016