ICS Diversity Tracker aims to boost women in maritime

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(LONDON) — The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has released the ICS Diversity Tracker, the first report looking into the state of diversity and inclusion in the global shipping labor force. The tracker, which surveyed more than 200 shipping companies across the world, sets baseline targets for improved corporate diversity and inclusion policies in the coming years.

While the report revealed that 30 percent of companies employ women in board-level roles, and close to 60 percent of companies have female officers on board their ships, just 7.5 percent of total seafarers were female. While it is encouraging that many companies (75 percent) have a maternity leave policy, the report also notes it is vital that the policies are robust and raises concerns over whether companies actively encourage diversity and inclusion among crews and staff.

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The ICS Diversity Tracker, the first of its kind released by an industry body, reflects ICS’ commitment to promoting a diverse and inclusive work environment in international shipping. The report provides a list of recommendations for immediate improvement, including an employment target of women seafarers from 7.5 percent to 12 percent in the next three years and to 25 percent in 20 years.

Research also revealed that the average ship has a mix of at least three nationalities on board, and sometimes as many as 30. Three languages were the minimum spoken on the average ship. However, only half of the surveyed companies said that they are currently promoting and encouraging diversity and inclusion activities among crews or during hiring.

“We find a diversified workforce, both on board our ships and at the office, one of our strongest assets,” said Karin Orsel, vice chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping and CEO of MF Shipping Group. “Diversity, equality and inclusiveness are key in providing a sustainable future for the global maritime industry and our company. We therefore applaud ICS with this diversity report, which is a first for the maritime industry and which showcases the leadership of the ICS on important issues. We do hope this report contributes to the needed change on diversity and inclusiveness policies within our industry and have been honored to be part of the project.”

The report discusses:
(1) the value of diversity, inclusion, and individual differences
(2) information from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) study, recruitment and retention of seafarers and the promotion of opportunities for women seafarers
(3) results of the ICS diversity survey conducted in Autumn 2019, participated by 240 shipping companies
(4) key conclusions and recommendations based on the report and survey.

Two recently formed panels, the ICS Diversity Panel and the ICS Women in Shipping Panel, are using the report to consider further steps.

“Many industry sectors have been focusing on diversity for many years but the shipping industry as a whole has been disappointingly behind the curve,” said Natalie Shaw, director of employment affairs for the International Chamber of Shipping. “The ICS Diversity Study Report aims to outline where we are now and where we need to get to as an industry in the next few years.”

“As the principal association for the international shipping sector, ICS is committed to build an inclusive workplace where all individuals of the society feel welcome and celebrated. The ICS Diversity Tracker is an important but much needed first step in realizing this cause.”

– International Chamber of Shipping


By Professional Mariner Staff