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One in three Deckhands and Stews are now getting some form of rotation onboard 70m+ superyachts as the industry scrambles to appeal to more crew in a very competitive and candidate-short market.

Across all yacht sizes, 15% of Deckhands have 3:1 rotation or better, and surprisingly, this increases to 23% of Stews.

The results come from our survey of 170 superyacht Captains who provided real-time information about salary, leave and benefits packages for over 1,500 crew in all onboard departments.

For 11 of the 18 roles featured in the survey, time for time rotation is the most common form of leave, including all HOD/senior positions with the exception of Bosuns and Chief Stews. The former largely get 46-60 days leave while 28% of Chief Stews get less than 45 days leave and the same amount get time for time rotation.

The survey also revealed that, in addition to the 19% of yachts that have already improved leave packages in the last 12 months, a further two fifths are either actively in the process or planning to do so in the coming year.

In a separate candidate poll that showed how more leave is now the priority for 41% of crew, it’s encouraging to see more yachts taking notice.

Tim Clarke, one of the founding Directors of Quay Crew, commented: “We’ve seen many of our own clients improve salary and leave packages for some time now, particularly for Junior Crew, but wanted to get a more accurate picture of the whole market.

crew rotation breakdown

“What this survey tells us is that there is definitely an upwards trend in pay as well as leave, but personally, I think it’s disappointing to see how many yachts continue to only give 60 days leave or less.

“Having said that, I believe 3:1 will increasingly be seen as the norm for Junior roles onboard 50m+ yachts and those who do not review their leave packages will become far less appealing employers for the most talented crew.”  

Salaries – a tale of two halves

When it comes to financial renumeration, salaries have certainly improved across the board, but there are some anomalies.

In a couple of data sets, salaries for certain crew were abnormally high, suggesting that those individuals with longevity have benefitted from regular pay rises.

At the other end of the scale, a handful of yachts appear to be paying salaries way below the what we would recommend of €2,500 per month for even green crew on any sized yacht.

Over half of the Captains surveyed (58%) said their yacht reviewed pay annually as standard, but two fifths are still taking a more informal or sporadic approach.

Crew salaries

Although the salaries mostly rise as yachts get larger, the survey also showed some sweet spots for certain crew. Junior Stews and 2nd Engineers are paid the best salaries in the 70-79m range while Pursuers, Beauty Stews and Nurses/Medics get better pay onboard 80-89m yachts compared to the larger vessels.

Bigger isn’t best for benefits

While some of the biggest yachts may offer better rotation, sometimes with less pay, they are often the most underperforming when it comes to benefits.

Overall, it’s fantastic to see that 70% of yachts have a training and career development budget for crew, which will certainly encourage longevity and hopefully extend the time crew remain in the industry.

crew benefits chart

Private healthcare is also one of the top additional benefits, but despite the findings of our recent mental health survey, under a third of yachts provide any support.

Just under half of 90-99m yachts have some kind of mental health support, followed by 80-89m (40%), but only 9% of 100m+ yachts offer this and none of the 40-49m yachts surveyed provide it.

Understandably, more of the larger yachts give crew access to a gym or fitness programme, but generally, benefits seem to decline as the size of yacht increases.

No 100m+ who responded allow the use of yacht toys and only one fifth give a 13 month bonus and/or life insurance. The biggest yachts are the worst for providing private healthcare too. We found this very surprising as some of our clients in this range have the best overall packages.

Yachts in the 40-49m range are most generous with a crew vehicle, private healthcare and 13 month bonus while 45% and 41% of 70-79m yachts respectively allow the use of yacht toys and fund socials.

Tim concluded: “With the superyacht sector experiencing an extreme candidate shortage and increased competition to secure the best crew in the fastest possible timeframe, yachts need to evolve their offering.

“COVID, especially, has made everyone reassess their career goals and work life balance, seeking out more leave over higher salaries and some yachts are starting to take notice.

“However, even though anecdotal evidence from our own clients suggests packages are improving, the survey reveals that industry-wide, the uptake is still slow.

“The fact remains – if yachts don’t review the compensation for crew and offer rotation, they will have to be more flexible on candidate requirements and potentially look to recruit talent from other sectors.”

Captains, management companies, yacht brokers and yacht owners are welcome to contact us for the full report, which includes a breakdown of leave, salary and benefits by yacht size. Please email marketing@quaycrew.com.

This report does not include Captain salaries, which will be shared in a separate report later in the year.
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Superyacht survey reveals rotation for Junior Crew is on the rise

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Charlotte Flake

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