Shipping has historically attracted a rather homogenous group of talents in terms of skillsets and backgrounds. At a time where shipping needs to become greener and operate smarter, the industry faces a need to be more innovative, which calls for companies to become more diverse in their workforce composition and more inclusive in their culture.
“Diversity is a catalyst for innovation. By hiring diverse talents and fostering inclusion, unconventional thinking is nurtured which we are working to turn into new solutions that benefit our partners, customers and society,” says Annelise Goldstein, Chief Human Resources Officer at Maersk Tankers.
As she reflects on where the industry is today in its work on diversity, equity and inclusion, she says that progress has been made, but that there is more work to be done, especially on closing the gender gap. “We acknowledge that women experience certain barriers in the shipping industry and use this knowledge to take action, so that we as an industry become more inclusive.”
In recent years, Maersk Tankers, a shipping company that has existed for 94 years, has gone through a fundamental transformation from being a traditional tanker owner to a service company managing vessels for owners.
”A service business is a people business,” says Goldstein and explains that the company is making a cultural shift at the same time as it is stepping up its game to create a diverse and inclusive environment.
The company is seeing its work bear fruit. For example, the company saw an increase in women employed from 30.5% (2020) to 35% (2021) and 55% of all hires in 2021 were women. Results that came through targeted actions such as unconscious bias training for leaders; and hiring for gender diversity with a target of 50% female hires. Most recently, the company implemented a new bonus system that encourages collaboration and promotes a more inclusive culture.
“We will continue to hire, support and promote talents with diverse profiles, so they can reach their potential, thrive and bring their different competencies and experiences into play. This will allow us to move forward together as an industry,” says Goldstein.