Chris Lawrence & Juris Capass on Developments in the APAC Region

17 January 2023

Chris Lawrence has been with Atlas Professionals for 5 years and is managing both Singapore and Indonesia offices – mainly focusing on sourcing marine & project Professionals as well as permanent in the APAC Region. Juris Capass has been with Atlas Professionals for 14 years and is Division Manager for Marine International which oversees operations in Latvia, Ukraine, Singapore, and Indonesia. Juris also mentions Atlas Professionals is looking for expansion in proximate regions in the near future: “We have ambitions to further advance our influence in other Asia-Pacific countries like Malaysia and the Philippines.” 

Asia Pacific (APAC) Offshore and Energy industries are buzzing with activity and present amazing opportunities for both Professionals and companies. Can you discuss the current state of the market and what can we expect in the future? 

Chris Lawrence: Currently, hiring has increased in our region as we are constantly hiring for Marine and Energy roles as well as offshore renewable energy roles. Offshore vessels have also seen an increase in presence of APAC Professionals – and I only see these trends going up as the demand is constantly increasing. 

Juris Capass: I think, just like everywhere in the world, it all depends on the geographical situation. Every market is poised to experience some issues if stability is decreased so there is always the pressure to observe everything that has been going on – and Atlas Professionals has been on the spot and reacting smart to ensure realities of the region are observed. 

C: I agree, Singapore is relatively neutral – it is a safer harbour, safer waters. Generally, it can be said that Singapore is the hub of Asia and it is easier to do business here as Singapore is a transparent and diverse nation. 

J: Basically, when you have a good mix, you can have a fantastic opportunity to source Professionals. 

Can you explain whether APAC Professionals are present in the international market and what are some developments, challenges regarding this subject? 

C: In the last couple of years we have heavily emphasized promoting local talents and Professionals – we always proposed local and Asian Professionals to the Clients we have partnered with. This has allowed these APAC Professionals to gather significant experience and knowledge, allowing them to operate beyond the APAC Region. We now have APAC Professionals in Europe and Brazil – and the demand for APAC Professionals has been increasing as most now are multilingual, know multiple markets and have transferable skills. 

J: I would say that we did see a need from the European market with the start of this year: That’s where experienced APAC Personnel comes into play. We are realising this opportunity and the numbers of APAC Professionals positioned for European clients is in an upward trend. Clients are content with APAC Professionals too – with some even offering permanent positions to them. 

Offshore is an industry that requires a lot of knowledge and experience to succeed – and what better way to learn what it takes than attending academies and schools! Can you elaborate more on the importance of these institutions in our industry? 

C: In our industry, knowledge is key. Singapore is now offering great choices for different types of Marine education and in the APAC Region, many people have started choosing Singapore as their destination for education as Singaporean schools and institutions have competitive pricing, the country has good food and amicable weather. Still, it is not enough as there is still a huge demand from the industry and schools to introduce more Professionals into the industry. We are in constant communication with them share our knowledge and explore opportunities. 

Can you explore merits of permanent placements and what it entails for both Professionals and Clients? 

C: All Professionals, when they are young – they want to explore many Clients, they need to go offshore, they want to understand what the industry is all about. When they get older, they want to see their kids grow, spend time with their families and that’s when they need companies like Atlas Professionals to ensure they can find a permanent place they can grow. Our Clients know we care about our Professionals as well and they know we source them from the best, so they trust us and tend to offer our Professionals permanent contracts. Here in Singapore, permanent placement desk is right now one of our busiest activities and it is increasing its prominence. 

J: I also want to add the prospect of finding opportunities by transitioning from offshore to onshore roles. When you think about it, it is only logical career development: Begin your career as offshore Greenhand Roustabout and continue as experienced office-based staff member. That is also one of the reasons how permanent placement can be used as a career development tool for our Professionals. It allows us to prove that we care about them not only when they are young and eager, as Chris said, but we also care about them when they mature.

Chris takes the final word and sums up the current situation in Singapore perfectly: “Our industry is buzzing with opportunity, if you have relevant experience and are willing to put in the effort. You can succeed and grow.''

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