Chinese Seafarers Reap Largest Global Wage Increase

Small Chinese flags on wooden sticks
Updated Published

China has experienced the most significant rise in seafarer wages among the major seafaring nations in international shipping in recent years, as highlighted in the latest Manning Annual Review and Forecast report by consultancy Drewry.

China remains a substantial and increasingly important source of seafarers, holding its position as the second-largest supplier to international merchant shipping and making up about 11% of the global sea-based workforce. 

The number of officers is on the rise, and while domestic-flagged vessels are the largest employers, Chinese officers are increasingly working on international ships across all types. 

For those pursuing a career at sea in ratings ranks, the employment market within mainland China is robust. Alongside the growth of the Chinese economy, there is a high demand for skilled labor, which competes directly with seafaring jobs. This competition has driven up pay rates for ratings, as employers must vie not only with other maritime opportunities but also with attractive onshore positions.

The notable wage growth is particularly evident in the dry cargo sector, where the Chinese growth rate has surpassed 5%. However, wage increases vary significantly across different sectors, seafarer ranks, and nationalities.