The shipping industry looks promising for Indians overall. Employment of Indian nationals in the Merchant Navy grew 35 per cent globally last year, increasing from 22,103 in 2017 to 27,364 in 2018.
But this isn’t simply because the worldwide shipping industry has grown. It is also because Indians – and other South East Asians such as Filipinos – present an enviable employment opportunity for companies.
One of the main reasons that there is a growing demand for Indian cruise ship crew is their knowledge of English. English is the working language on board most cruise ships, partly because it is the language most crew from varying nationalities can understand and also because a significant number of guests come in from English-speaking countries.
Indians are adept at learning language and English is taught rigorously in school from a young age. This gives them an upper hand in the industry.
Cruise ship crew from India are in plenty, lapping up prospective jobs quite quickly. Applications flood in from jobseekers who have heard about employment vacancies from friends and family who already work on cruise ships.
Indians have an excellent reputation in the cruise ship industry, known for being hospitable and hard-working. Many cruise line companies have employment drives or are connected with reputed recruitment companies across the country like Kamaxi Overseas to get honest, loyal jobseekers.
It’s important to note that for many employees from Western countries, cruise jobs form a stop-gap position between careers or gap year experience. The number that sticks around is far fewer when compared with South East Asian jobseekers who mostly tend to look at cruise ship jobs as careers.
Many Indian cruise ship crew start from the bottom and work their way up. They are reputed for being loyal to the cruise line, which increases their demand. Cruise ship companies invest a lot of time and effort in on-board training so staff who keep returning for the next contract are valued.
The long contracts are also quite stressful and demand a serious commitment if the employee is looking at the profession long-term. Cruise ship crew from India and the Philippines are among those noted for their determined nature when it comes to holding down jobs such as these.
It may be tough to admit, but one of the main reasons why Indians are in high demand in the cruise ship industry is the salaries. Cruise ship crew are paid in dollars and the domestic economy is such that, when converted, even the salary of an entry-level job is lucrative.
According to Cruise Ship Jobs by Seamax, a utility cleaner who requires no experience and a basic understanding of English can earn up to US$800 a month. This roughly converts to Rs 56,700 per month, not including gratuities of any kind. Combine this with one’s saving on food, accommodation and transport, and the possibility of putting away a nest egg or supporting one’s entire family increases rapidly. This is certainly difficult to do in developed countries where the cost of living is much higher.
With commitment, dedication and loyalty, cruise ship companies are able to offer Indian employees well-earned increments as well as promotions through the ranks. Given the salaries, Indians are in a better position to stay on and give the job their best. So it’s a win-win situation on both ends.