Real Time Graduates: Entering shipping’s workforce

An article written by our registered member Mr. Dionysios Tsilioris, RTG Member, Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.

For all intents and purposes, it is the month of September that marks the start of the year. It is the time when school starts, offices see people returning to work, and the melancholy of another summer gone gradually settles on. Nonetheless, it is also a period of beginnings. Most noticeably September is when young graduates are contemplating entering the workforce.

Free education has been a staple of most western democracies for decades. The consensus among political thinkers and economists alike suggests that free tertiary education is a defining example of a positive externality to societies and economies.

In regards to a white-collar onshore career path, Greece is fortunate enough to boast an exemplary level of quality and breadth of choices in maritime education, with public and private institutions churning out hundreds of shipping-educated graduates each year; mostly at the expense of the state, their parents or a combination of both.

It is around this time of the year when graduates veer off to face the job market. Some have recently completed an internship and were offered a paying job. Others start from scratch, with no acquaintances whatsoever, their degree and eagerness to work being their sole credentials. For quite a few, finding a job is not about putting their academical skills into practice, but a matter of urgency, a matter of livelihood.

Come September, these young graduates will knock on the doors of shipmanagement companies, shipbroking shops, law practices and insurance firms, suppliers’ offices, crew agencies, and a diverse and multi-disciplinary array of business realms belonging to what we collectively identify as the shipping industry.

Some are lucky and land a job without much effort. Here and at this stage, luck is oftentimes associated with the time one spends in securing a desk, not the desirability of the job per se. For some others, it is a long and difficult road, fraught with turndowns and outright rejections. One thing is certain; finding a job is a job in its own right.

The shipping world continues to operate by a very unique code of ethics. Whereas these unexampled set of morals is a blend of centuries-old traditions, customs, and even folklore, these principles remain as actual as ever. This is an industry that values hard work, wit, the ability to think on one’s feet and, last but not least, honesty.

To all young candidates out there, disheartened by a lack of opportunities or a streak of bad luck, consolation may be found in the numerous candidates who were in your shoes before. Accepting that you will need to depart your comfort zone, resilience to keep on going and a display of genuine willingness to learn are necessary prerequisites in landing your first job.

For their part, companies ought to be in a position to offer young graduates the chance to be heard; the chance to work with them, not for them; the chance to place trust in them.

Dionysios Tsilioris
Member, Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers