Investigating seafarers’ hard and soft skills in maritime logistics: an overarching approach

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The seafarers’ labour market is exposed to continuous changes in terms of requested skills. This trend imposes to seafarers a growing flexibility to face the changing factors that characterize the maritime and logistics cluster. These rapid changes in requested competences, jointly with severe working conditions at sea, lead seafarers to reasoning on potential job opportunities, for an ashore “second life”. The paper provides an overview of seafarers’ hard and soft skills. Then it proposes an ad-hoc framework for disentangling main issues related to competences in the shipping industry. Finally, the theoretical model proposed is used for scrutinizing those skills developed aboard that are expected to support ex-seafarers when searching satisfactory jobs ashore. The manuscript investigates skills in the maritime sector for the development of our conceptual framework. Moreover, it tests and validates this conceptual model, grounding on both anecdotal evidences and insights from experts and practitioners involved in the industry.