Survey displays state of diversity in shipping

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1 month ago
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A new survey conducted by Diversity Study Group reveals the true state of the shipping industry’s diversity picture.  Aiming to act as barometer for diversity and inclusion across the industry, the survey collected data, that paints a rather dire picture of diversity in the maritime sector.

Preliminary results disclose high gender disparity and lack of ethnic diversity on management level and highlights the urgent need for change in pay gap and workplace culture.

The results reveal issues in a variety of areas.

According to the survey a striking 95% of respondents working in senior management positions are male, resulting in a stark disparity in gender balance.

 Furthermore, the results also show a lack of ethnic diversity at C-suite, director and head-of-department- level, with the majority of those comprising these positions, identifying as white.

In other roles and levels of seniority, gender imbalance seems to be less pronounced. 34% of respondents in commercial roles were female with 51% stating they worked in ‘mid-level-roles’. There also seems to be a growing pool of female talent for more senior roles, as 42% of female respondents were between 25 and 34 years old, indicating that there is indeed, an opportunity for progress.

When looking at salaries and bonuses, of the salary increases given in the past 12 months, 49% were given to males and 46% to female. This gap widens when you take the size of the increases into account: of those reporting a pay rise of 2-4%, 56% are male and 41% are female. A similar trend can be spotted with bonuses. Of those reporting a bonus, 55% are male and 41% are female. Male employees usually receive larger bonuses as well, making the gender imbalance even more apparent.

While the participating companies spanned a wide range of sectors, the majority were from the shipowning and trading sectors.

Commenting on the initial findings form the survey, Heidi Heseltine, co-founder of the Diversity Study Group said: “The picture that emerges from the survey is mixed. There is a stark lack of diversity at shipping’s top table, when it comes to the profile of those in C-suite and senior management roles. There are big differences between male and female responses when describing their working environment. By a margin of 2:1, women feel less able to raise discrimination concerns, feel less valued for their contribution and feel they lack a supporting peer group at work. This goes to the heart of how diversity and inclusion affects workplace culture and the progress still to be made.

The survey also shows some positive trends in our industry and we want to recognize progress and share best practice. For example, 61% of respondents said their employer has a D&J policy, which is a decent starting point. When it comes to gender imbalance, it is encouraging to see the number of women in the industry, with a significant number of younger women and in mid-level-roles. The challenge for shipping is to ensure that there is no glass ceiling when it comes to reaching more senior roles and that they are rewarded fairly for the jobs they are doing today.”

The survey remains open and the Diversity Study Group is encouraging anyone who works in the shipping industry in a shore- based role to participate. To participate, click here:

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