In an exclusive interview to SAFETY4SEA, Mrs Claudia Paschkewitz, CSM Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion, shares interesting perspectives on how shipping can transform into a more diverse industry, highlighting that young Generation Z will play a key role towards.
he young generation is looking for different working environments; more hybrid and with strong corporate values. As such, we need to be open to new ways of working, to understand their demands, break down any stereotypical thinking and promote exciting career opportunities. Only when the younger generation becomes involved in the decision making, industry will naturally evolve to become more diverse, she noted.
SAFETY4SEA: How does your organization support diversity and inclusion within the industry?
Claudia Paschkewitz: Columbia Shipmanagement regards diversity and inclusion as essential to the way it operates. Being appointed as CSM Group Director of Diversity and Inclusion, a key priority is to accelerate the D&I culture throughout the CSM Group of Companies. Diversity and inclusion must be viewed as a living and dynamic process, and by working with our employees, we can identify the areas that require attention. Through this active involvement, employees become CSM D&I ambassadors, supporting diversity and inclusion within the industry. We want our workforce to know that CSM seeks change and is determined to lead from the front. It’s about shining a light to the next generation on the important issues at hand, and this is key to encouraging them to enter our sector
S4S: What are the three top priorities to achieve the UN SDG #5 and empower women in the maritime community?
Cl.P.: Increasing the visibility of women in leadership positions because visible role models will attract more women to the shipping industry. Also, it is about providing career opportunities and relevant training to support career progression while involving women in decision-making processes at all levels.
S4S: There is still a lingering stigma about working at sea, that it is a man’s world. How can we successfully breakdown this stigma?
Cl.P.: This is an issue that needs to be addressed by the shipping industry as a whole. We should begin with the next generation by breaking down stereotypical thinking and showing our young and talented that there are excellent career opportunities to be had in this changing industry. At CSM we have female captains and cadets and we have made huge strides towards recognising their achievements. We ensure we promote them via all media channels, through our campaigns, on our websites and social media platforms, highlighting their value to our organization, across all business lines.
S4S: What actions should we take to collectively create a DEI (diverse, equal, inclusive) industry to attract the future generation?
Cl.P.: We must listen to the younger generation to learn what this means to them and compare those results to our existing goals. This must not be a one-time event, but a continuous process, which is why we have adopted diversity and inclusion as one of our company values. We are committed to promoting the DEI environment by running internal campaigns, hosting webinars and launching other initiatives such as interviews with employees, producing a diversity newsletter and by signing the Diversity Charter, among others. This way we ensure we ALL work together to create a more welcoming and inclusive industry. This will help us in creating interest in this industry among future generations. When the younger generation become the decision-makers, the issue of diversity will strongly improve because there won’t be any divides. Industry will naturally evolve to become more diverse.
Research on Generation Z shows they seek meaningful work where they can make a difference. They care about brands and what business they work for, so implementing strong core values in a business is vital. The younger generation is also looking for more hybrid work as digitalisation takes hold. The market needs to be more open to these new ways of working. Lockdowns pushed a fast-forward button on digitalization, which showed the many strengths of technology.
S4S: In your view, has the industry been successful in embracing and upskilling the maritime professionals? What are the lessons learned and what should be the next steps?
Cl.P.: I think it is absolutely necessary to do this. A company can only operate successfully if its employees are involved and are supported. At CSM, we attach great importance to continuous training for personnel ashore and at sea. We do this because our employees are important to us, and because we consider it our obligation to deliver the best service to our customers. CSM prides itself on total commitment to effective, innovative, tailored and relevant training. We have invested huge amounts of time and money in our highly effective training teams and systems worldwide, but we have established extremely close relationships with some truly fantastic training partners, institutions and organisations, especially our Training centers in Manilla. Our partnership with Adobe and OneLearn, and the creation of our industry- leading eLearning and internet-based Learning Management System is a recognised benefit and tool for our People. Additionally, we uphold distinguished Cadet Programmes where we give our cadets the world-class training they need to become successful marine officers and engineers.
S4S: From your perspective, if you could change one thing across the industry what would this one thing be and why?
Cl.P.: I believe that it is difficult to speak for the industry because, ultimately, you can only speak subjectively for yourself based on your own experience. For me, it’s a combination of the experience I’ve gained over 30 years as a Trainee, Operator, Director of Operations, Managing Director, Group Director for Diversity and Inclusion, and, of course, as a woman. In that time, we have made great progress in the maritime industry in terms of equality at the decision-making level. However, there is still room for improvement. I would like to see a more rapid change here. At CSM, we are frontrunners of that change when it comes to leadership positions held by women, both at shore and on board our ships.
S4S: What is your key message to industry stakeholders towards a more sustainable future for the industry?
Cl.P.: The absolute importance of shipping has clearly been demonstrated recently. Globally, the supply of goods and freight without shipping is not possible. However, the preservation and protection of the oceans must remain a top priority. Operationally, we already hold ourselves to the highest environmental standards. CSM sets out, and revises, environmental objectives and implements action plans to reduce waste and fuel consumption, conserve natural resources, and environmentally assess its raw materials and products. We are working towards total decarbonisation and minimising our environmental footprint by examining future alternative fuels to reduce emissions; by embracing digitalisation and utilizing the power of our own Performance Optimisation Control Room POCR to better manage the vessels in our managed fleet and to drive value to our principals’ bottom line.
The views presented are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.