Susan Shey Dvonch, Managing Partner, Shey-Harding Associates Executive Search

Susan Shey Dvonch, Managing Partner, Shey-Harding Associates Executive Search

2018 saw robust hiring activity for ports and marine terminals, but hiring on the ocean carrier side was flatter than usual. The finalization of multiple shipping alliances led to layoffs, forced early retirements, and some employees declining mandatory transfers.  

With succession planning a hot topic in recent years, particularly within the port sector, some took a proactive stance and focused on grooming future leaders from within. Identifying, developing, and retaining top employees who are ready to fill key positions within the organization has become a priority.

As we look toward 2019, companies will be faced with many challenges related to hiring. It’s a candidate’s market now with national unemployment hovering just below 4 percent. The Federal Reserve calls our current condition “beyond full employment” (February 2018), which means there are more jobs available than there are qualified workers to fill them.

Employers must consider that the strongest candidates are likely to have multiple employment options. Timing, salary, geographic flexibility (if possible), and a step-up career opportunity will be key in attracting the best talent. A protracted hiring process will not work in favor of the employer, so we will continue to encourage our client companies to act as expeditiously as possible.  

With low unemployment and a limited candidate pool, employers will need to be creative and flexible. Few training programs currently exist within the industry to provide employers with early career, professional level candidates, and high-demand candidates with uniquely specific skills may not exist or be available. Employers must consider developing and implementing their own training programs for early and mid-career professionals and adjusting stringent experience requirements to cultivate the talent they need.

 
 
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