This month Captain Luke Hammond discusses a current hot topic within the industry: what’s fair when it comes to yacht crew salaries?…
For me, when I started out in yachting, it wasn’t about the money, it was the possibility of travel and exploration that gained my attention.
Don’t get me wrong – money was important, but not as important as the potential to experience cruising around the world.
When I joined my current program back in 2019, I left my interview without even talking about money – I was just excited at the prospect of a great position. But what does this have to do with yacht crew salaries? Believe it or not… EVERYTHING.
What commonly dictates a salary?
If you looked on Indeed.com it would produce something like this:
“Salaries are impacted by market and demographic factors like the availability of jobs, the number of available candidates for a particular job or the number of employees looking for the same education and skills”
What that means in the yachting world: Popular Job = Static Salary
The yachting industry only continues to grow, due to more yachts being built, a large number of people entering the industry, and the growing number of people with appropriate skills.
What does that mean for crew?
Industry wide, yacht crew salaries stay stagnant because we are seeing a surplus in all aspects.
“So you’re saying the reason it doesn’t change, (even if we have seen the dollar produce a cumulative price increase of 72.89% since 2000) is basically a simplified version of supply and demand?”
So if yacht crew salaries aren’t changing, why should you even consider Yachting as a career? For the same reason that I personally started in the first place – it’s an opportunity very few people in this world ever get to experience.
Oh and we are also starting to see an uptick in crew salaries!
Yes, I could have led with that sentence, but where would the fun be in that?
That said, another reason to consider the stagnancy in salaries, and another possible reason why things haven’t changed, is due to what I like to call the ‘old guard’.
Yachting is not your atypical industry. Our business floats on water, our lives are subject to weather and the whim of the next adventure. It is also an industry that takes years to truly understand and appreciate, mostly due to the nuances, but also because it has a tendency to rid itself of those that don’t take it seriously.
It’s with that understanding that those in control have not seen the value in increasing yacht crew salaries (regardless of inflation). But the real conundrum here is that it takes those same people to advocate for an increase in salaries across the board.
At some point, reality hit and so did the realisation that it takes well motivated people to keep this industry alive. The industry is slowly understanding that if you do choose this as a career for the long term, financial motivation is a huge factor. Those young dreamers are now starting families of their own, and the salaries of yesteryear no longer carry the same weight as before.
(To give you context, the buying power of $1 in 2000 would now be approximately $1.73. Crazy huh?)
As a new starter, you need to stand out, but know your value
Industry averages are your friend. Do not go below that threshold otherwise you will be contributing to the problem. For those already in the industry, you need to determine what value you bring to the equation. If your value supersedes that of your current position, it might pay to look elsewhere for a new role.
So, whilst I’d love to say yacht crew salaries are going to increase across the board immediately, it’s important to know that this is happening, albeit very slowly.
Remember to be the best version of yourself, no one is going to be a bigger advocate for you than yourself. I also advise you to do your homework. Understand your value and potential, but be realistic too. Just because you want something doesn’t mean you are going to get it. The world doesn’t work that way.
“Stay positive, go after what you are passionate about, and most importantly, have fun and enjoy the journey!”
It’s why we are all here.
Captain Lord Luke Hammond recently launched Reffr – A new yacht crew recruitment platform. Reffr aims to solve the problem of connecting people with the right jobs, which opens up amazing opportunities for recruiters, captains, and businesses that join the platform.