In the course of time, the maritime industry is ramping up efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in their workforce and reap the rewards.
What is diversity?
, diversity is the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people. These could be everything that makes us unique, such as our cognitive skills and personality traits, along with things that shape our identity (e.g. race, age, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation, cultural background, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity). ccording to ICS
Different forms of diversity
#1 Gender diversity: Gender diversity is an umbrella term that is used to describe gender identities that demonstrate a diversity of expression beyond the binary framework. For many is constraining to express themselves as male or female. Some people would prefer to have the freedom to not have a gender identity at all.
According to the findings of Women in Maritime Survey 2021 of WISTA, in more than 500 companies throughout the maritime industry, 39% of women within the surveyed companies work in mid-management, 28% in technical core roles, and 48% in administrative and support roles.
#2 Racial and ethnic diversity: This form focuses on hiring people of different races and ethnicities. Is the acknowledgement and celebration of differences between racial groups.
On 2022 Annual Review from the Diversity Study Group, data shows that there is still a significant lack of ethnic diversity and female representation in senior roles, although representation at lower-level roles is improving. C-suite and Heads of Department roles are predominantly held by white respondents, with roughly a quarter of roles headed by those identifying as Asian.
#3 LGBTQ+ diversity: This includes a range of generations and a spectrum of sexual orientations. According to McKinsey, while 5.1% of U.S. women identify as LGBTQ+ as do 3.9% of U.S. men, they are underrepresented in the workforce and they can find it more challenging to bring their whole selves to work where they often face microaggressions and discrimination.
#4 Age diversity: There are five generations in the workforce, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby boomers and traditionalists. According to research from UNECE, data shows that people over 55 are more likely to feel discriminated against on the basis of their age than those below 30.
#5 Spiritual diversity: For many is about having respect for and displaying loving kindness towards the unique spiritual experiences of each people.
#6 Disability diversity: Disability diversity means being inclusive of people with disabilities in the workplace and valuing their contributions to the workplace.
Shipping Industry, the last years making steps to evolve through inclusion of diversified work groups. The maritime industry benefits from diversity and can learn from other industries that have made significant strides in this area.
Despite the fact that, shipping industry is traditionally male dominated, especially in roles related to ship operations, management, and crew, there has been a growing recognition of the benefits of diversity within the industry. Here are some key points related to diversity in shipping:
Key benefits for seafarers
#1 Feel free to speak up
One of the most important benefits of a culture of diversity is that they not only feel they are able to speak up but also to feel supported by their leaders. As a result, this led to greater innovation and problem solving. According to ISWAN, workplaces where people feel psychologically safe, result in employees being comfortable in sharing their views without fear of criticism.
Productivity is higher when employees are working in a diverse and equitable workplace onboard. Moreover, an industry with employees of different races, origins and backgrounds can promote more creative ideas.
#3 Addressing the global skills gap
Embracing diversity in maritime education is a strategic approach to addressing the industry’s global skills gap as it can widen the pool of talent entering the industry, resolving the shortage of skilled individuals and fostering a sustainable maritime workforce.
#4 Supportive Environment
In a diverse workplace, seafarers feel that belong in a supportive environment, ensuring that everyone feels welcomed. As a result, they collaborate effectively and improve their mental health.
#5 Higher innovation
Diversity in the workplace leads to a higher innovation rate. In a diverse workplace, seafarers combine multiple perspectives and open doors to innovation.
#6 Increased profits
According to research of McKinsey & Company, that included 180 companies in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, companies with more diverse top teams were also top financial performers.
As ICS informed, workplace diversity also links with discrimination. Bias and discriminatory employment practices exclude people with specific characteristics, making it difficult for companies to achieve and maintain diversity, which is why many companies take action.
In conclusion, diversity is an important element that every company must create. It’s essential for growth and a sustainable future of the maritime industry. However, it’s very important to know that change takes time, and the shipping industry can’t change the existing structure immediately.