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Leadership Insight Series: A Pathway to Great Diversity in Maritime

26 October 2022

ICS Leadership Insights Live: A Pathway to Greater Diversity in Maritime round-up

Adopting diversity, equity and inclusion into business practices will be essential to ensure the skills required for shipping’s green transition

The recent ICS Leadership Insights Live event, A Pathway to Greater Diversity in Maritime, demonstrated the essential need for shipping to adopt diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into their business operations, particularly as it heads towards the green transition.

Speakers Karin Orsel, CEO MF Shipping and Chair of the ICS Diversity Panel, Maria Antoniou, Group HR Director, Morgan Advanced Materials and Kathryn Upson, VP Partnerships & Strategic Implementation, BP Shipping, outlined best practices on diversity and the clear business imperatives for companies to incorporate DEI into their standard operating practices and across the industry as a whole.

Antoniou said that taking action on DEI is not only “morally the right thing to do” but stressed that there is also a business and legal imperative to take it seriously. She noted that not only does investment in DEI policies and actions in companies come back “tenfold”, but that investors will now often only consider providing funding to businesses that incorporate DEI, and is second only to green considerations.

All speakers at the event also stressed the importance of having DEI policies in attracting new skills into maritime. Orsel said: “Shipping has a long way to go on gender diversity in shipping, and as we move into the energy transition we must widen the pool of talent coming into the industry.”

Talking about work being done at BP, Kathryn Upson said: “There are too many people all over world who don’t have equal access to opportunities. We want to create a business where everyone feels safe and can bring their best self to work”.

ICS launched a  Maritime Diversity and Inclusion Charter at the start of 2022 for companies to help companies measure and benchmark their diversity policies and progress annually. It will also soon launch a Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit to provide companies with best practices, recommendations and resources to make the workplace more welcoming and inclusive.

To watch the full recording of the event click here.

Other key points raised during the webinar included:

  • Culture change is a slow progress and needs leadership commitment to drive it.
  • Shipping must broaden out what diversity means for shipping, it is not just about women but must also factor in other areas including minorities, neurodiversity, LGBTQIA+ communities and disability.
  • Gender diversity in maritime is slow to progress and male allies are essential to push forward positive change.
  • Business should measure levels of diversity via KPIs and set up realistic stretch ambitions to help improve year-on-year.
  • Analysing and changing recruitment and job advertising approaches can help to attract talent from more diverse backgrounds.
  • Assessing how to retain talent from diverse backgrounds can help prevent a leaky pipeline.
  • There is a need to enact change not only at a company level but industry level.
  • Lessons can be learnt from other traditionally male dominated sectors that have made dramatic changes and improvements on DEI.