Demand for greater focus on DE&I

LONDON, UK – 19 November 2021: Shipping is significantly lacking ethnic and female representation at the senior level, according to the latest survey from the Diversity Study Group. However, employers are increasingly keen to embrace the benefits of DEI (diversity, equality, inclusivity) data to support decision-making and respond to the growing importance of DEI issues to employers and new recruits.

The results come from the Diversity Study Group’s 2021 Annual Review, published this week. The review draws on the results of a survey of over 3,000 people from the Group’s member organisations spanning the maritime supply chain, including ship owners, operators, managers and charterers.

The survey confirms a significant lack of ethnic and female representation at senior levels of the sector. The data showed 27% of C-Suite positions are currently held by women, dropping to 14% for the Heads of Department level. However, this gender imbalance is not reflected at junior and trainee level, where the split is 63% female and 35% male.

The survey also explored the gender divide between departments. IT remains the most male-dominated department with 82% of its workforce identifying as male. This is closely followed by technical & fleet operations, with only 19% of roles being filled by women. In comparison, there is a higher representation of women in finance, human resources, administrative and support roles, as well as legal, insurance, and middle-office areas.

As well as gender, the Annual Review explored age and ethnicity in the shoreside shipping workforce. The Review also looks at employees’ awareness of their organisation’s DEI policy and their ability to speak up and raise concerns over discrimination in the workplace.

Heidi Heseltine, Co-Founder of the Diversity Study Group, commented: “Other sectors are making considerable investments in time and resource as they adapt their business strategies to foster a more inclusive workplace culture. If shipping fails to do so, it risks falling behind at a time when DEI has become essential to building a resilient and relevant sector, one that can thrive and progress.”

“It is clear that shipping’s next generation cares about DEI issues. Shipping is also competing with other sectors for the same people, so it is essential that we can offer meaningful, inclusive, and fulfilling career destinations. Through our Annual Review, we are shining a light on the current state of DEI in our sector, building up a clearer picture of where the challenges lie, and helping organisations take a data-led approach to adopting DEI strategies that meet the needs of their business.”

This is the second annual review conducted by the DSG, which is now building a growing data set on diversity issues, particularly around age, gender, and ethnicity, that will meet the demand from shipping organisations for robust benchmarks that will help to track progress and drive change through more data-driven DEI strategies and programmes.

The survey helps to capture, from a diversity, equality and inclusivity perspective, how people are thinking and feeling about working in shipping and maritime. This enables the DSG and its members to appreciate those concerns and take them into account as we progress, organisationally and collectively, on our DEI journey.

Among the key lessons and learnings points from this year’s Annual Review, the DSG notes that this survey was conducted against the ongoing backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of which will be clearer in next year’s survey. However, the pandemic has provided an opportunity for employers to rethink their approach to flexible working in a way that can help attract and retain employers from under-represented groups.

To help make it relevant and to embed real change, employers are encouraged to articulate to their teams why diversity, equality, and inclusivity matters to them. There was also an appetite from employees for more training on DEI issues, more learning and personal development opportunities, and a more consistent application of policies and processes to provide equal opportunities.

The Diversity Study Group would like to thank all organisations and employees who completed this year’s survey.

The membership of the DSG spans the shipping industry and includes AET, Ardmore Shipping, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, Cargill Ocean Transportation, Dorian LPG, G2 Ocean, GasLog, Hafnia and Peninsula. The DSG is keen to welcome new members and any organisations interested in membership are encouraged to get in touch.

The 2021 Annual Review is now available upon request via [email protected].

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