A new report by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), ICS Diversity Tracker looking into the state of diversity and inclusion in the global shipping labor force, found that 30% of companies employ women in board-level roles, and close to 60% of companies have female officers on board their ships, but just 7.5% of total seafarers were female. The report recommends an employment target of women seafarers from 7.5% to 12% in the next three years and to 25% in 20 years.
Whilst it is encouraging that many (75%) companies 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 amongst crews and staff.
Research also revealed that the average ship has a mix of at least three nationalities on board, and sometimes as many as thirty. 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 amongst crews or during hiring.
Natalie Shaw, Director of Employment affairs for the International Chamber of Shipping said: “Many industry sectors have been focusing on diversity for many years but the shipping industry as a whole has been disappointingly behind the curve. 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.”
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. Two recently formed panels, the ICS Diversity Panel and the ICS Women in Shipping Panel are using the report to consider further steps.