A survey of over 100 Chief Officers has uncovered the latest trends in salary, leave and bonus packages for Chief Officers working onboard 40m to 100m+ superyachts.
The analysis, carried out by crew recruitment agency, Quay Crew, contains detailed comparisons between yacht size and usage and also explores whether length of time in the role and ticket level has an impact.
The key findings are:
- The current average salary across all yacht sizes for a Chief Officer is €8,475, with solely private yachts paying 11% more than private/charter yachts.
- 72.5% are time for time rotational roles.
- Over half (54%) get annual pay rises, but only 16% are contractual, while 30% are inconsistent and unpredictable.
- The most common pay rise amount when given is between 2.1 and 5% of their previous salary (43%).
- Over half of Chief Officers receive a 13th-month bonus while 21% get random and unpredictable bonuses. 14% get no bonus at all.
- A third have been in the role between 1 and 3 years, followed by 24% who have 5 to 7 years’ experience. Just 12% have more than 7 years’ experience as a Chief Officer.
- 47% hold a Master Unlimited or Master 3000 ticket at the highest level, while the same amount have achieved Chief Mate 3000 or Chief Mate Unlimited at the highest level.
- The average age of a Chief Officer is 30 – although the age that people first become a Chief Officer has increased by around 18 months.
Tom Rose, Officer Consultant and Team Leader at Quay Crew, commented:
“As with any salary survey in any industry, there are always exceptions and this is no different in yachting. There are clearly some outliers across all yacht size brackets which can skew the averages somewhat.
“However overall, the average salary of €8,475 is extremely healthy and the fact that almost three-quarters of the Chief Officers surveyed are receiving time for time rotation is also very positive.
“Having said that, these findings are not necessarily indicative of the jobs being recruited for of late, with a shortage of rotational roles becoming available. This is certainly down to Chief Officers committing to those yachts offering such packages and staying onboard long-term.
“When comparing private only and private/charter yachts, Chief Officers are two-thirds more likely to receive a contractual annual pay rise onboard a private yacht compared to those that charter as well.
“Drilling down into yacht size comparisons, the biggest salary uplift is from a 60-69m and 70-79m yacht (10%). Salaries then drop 4% drop when Chief Officers step up to 80-89m but all get 3:1 or time for time rotation whereas one in five roles onboard 70-79m are full time.
“One interesting observation is that the average age crew are taking on their first Chief Officer role is going up. This could be that crew are joining the industry later or that there are limited progression opportunities onboard some yachts to step up.”
Tim Clarke, Director at Quay Crew, commented:
“One statistic that leaps out at us is that over a third (34%) of Chief Officers surveyed have been in the role for more than five years without stepping up to Captain. Anecdotally, getting your first drive position is the most challenging, so while this report highlights some average packages, it’s arguably more important to find a well-run boat that will support your goals.
Longevity is key, as is building a good relationship with the Captain, owner and management company, if applicable. Skipping jobs to earn a couple of hundred Euros more may not benefit your career in the long term.
Generally speaking, Chief Officer jobs are good at the moment, but if you want to know what you need to do to make the transition to Captain as easy as possible, we’d be happy to advise.”
We are currently working on Captain and other HOD salary reports. If you want to take part or be able to access these reports, please sign up to our new client portal here.