Swedish seafarers’ commitment to work in times of flagging out

Flagging‐out means a significant decline in organisational commitment for Swedish seafarers; this is shown in research made at Kalmar Maritime Academy. 

Carl Hult, one of the researchers behind the article.

The article Swedish Seafarers’ Commitment to Work in Times of Flagging out was published earlier this year in Transnav, the International Journal on Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation. It's written by Carl Hult and Jan Snöberg at Kalmar Maritime Academy, Linnaeus University. The study takes its departure in the difficulties to recruit and retain qualified senior seafarers in the Swedish shipping sector, and focuses on seafarers’ motivation at work for the specific shipping company and seafarers’ motivation towards their occupation. 1300 seafarers' answered the questions.

- We could see a substantial and statistically significant decrease in commitment towards the shipping company among those serving on ships flying other flag than Swedish. Further analysis revealed that this effect was related to perceived shortcomings in the social composition of the crew, says Carl Hult.

In addition, the oldest seafarers who are above 55 years of age demonstrated less occupational commitment under a foreign flag, a decline related to the degree of satisfaction with the social security structure. Occupational commitment among the youngest seafarers (age 19‐30) is not affected by the nationality of flag in the same way, but they could see that this type of commitment is decreasing by the time served on the same ship.

Based on these findings the researchers recommend shipping companies to incorporate sincere career coaching in their HRM‐activities directed to their young employees and develop individual rotating systems for employees with regards to trade area and ships. 

- For small companies with few vessels, it may be of mutual advantage to make cross‐company arrangements to share and lend young employees within some sort of informal crew pool system, says Carl Hult.

Other recommendations made was to uphold a certain sense of homeland belongingness for onboard employees, and to carefully consider the social composition of the crews on flagged out ships.

Carl Hult says that the industry could quite easily make good improvements if they considered the recommendations given in the article.