With the superyacht industry currently experiencing a shortage in highly-skilled crew, yacht crew agents are busier than ever trying to source experienced applicants to place them aboard some of the world’s most impressive superyachts.
With the Med season over for another year, Elaine Fitzgerald at YPI CREW took some time out to talk to Yachting Pages about her day-to-day activities working as a yacht crew agent in the South of France.
Tell us about your role and responsibility at YPI CREW?
I’m a recruiter within the interior department at YPI CREW. We are a team of four and I’m responsible for the placement of chief stewardesses, along with second and experienced stewardesses. I also dip my toe into purser placements from time to time.
How did you come to end up working as a yacht crew agent?
I graduated university in Ireland with an honours’ degree in European languages and took a year out to travel the world. When I went back to Ireland, I continued to enjoy the travelling lifestyle by working for a well-known travel company, Trailfinders, in Dublin. I moved up within the ranks, but after five years in this fast-paced sales role, I needed a change. I packed up and moved to the South of France in October 2013, landing my first role in recruitment for a company in Nice. From there I decided to focus more on yacht recruitment specifically and I was lucky enough to join YPI CREW at the end of 2014.
It was clear from the start that YPI was a great fit for me - I am very fortunate to work for the best crew agency! It’s a busy, hard-working environment with lots of fun and laughs.
Describe a typical day working as a crew agent.
Like most people's jobs, mine is very hectic. On a normal day, I am reviewing CVs, interviewing candidates over the phone and face to face; speaking to clients; checking references and arranging interviews.
However, this is the yachting industry and there is no normal day, so mostly I spend my time rolling with the punches and finding solutions for clients. At the end of the day, my goal is to get my clients the best possible person for the job and my candidates an interview, so I prioritise that over anything else.
Why do your clients come to you?
I interview interior crew all day long; I sift through the mountains of CVs that I’m sure every boat gets handed in dock-walking season, and so when I send a candidate, the client has confidence in me. When I say trust me, this is your new steward or stewardess, they know that it will be the perfect fit!
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
I really enjoy my job; talking to clients, meeting candidates and getting to know them. I have to say that my favourite thing about the job is when a candidate lands their dream job.
There’s so much work that goes on in the background and I invest as much time and energy into each of my candidates as they do to get them where they want to be.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
There are a lot of obstacles to overcome in this job, but I think the hardest part is when someone is really excited about a position and it doesn’t work out for reasons beyond our control.
What characteristics do you possess that allow you to do your job well?
I think it’s a combination of listening, problem solving, persuasion skills and honesty, as well as determination and a little spattering of eternal optimism.
What is your career goal?
My goal is to keep learning more and more about both yachting and recruitment and to play an integral part of YPI CREW as it continues to grow from strength to strength.
And finally, tell us something embarrassing about yourself?
So, I have a little crush on Stephane Plaza – the French king of home improvements! There’s just something about the way he flicks his scarf as he hops on his scooter!