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Insights and advice for women working in maritime

Thoughts from women in the industry on International Day for Women in Maritime 2022

Wednesday 18th May 2022 marks the inaugural IMO International Day for Women in Maritime, which focusses on the theme “Training-Visibility-Recognition: Supporting a barrier-free working environment”.

We have spoken to female leaders in maritime for their thoughts and advice to women considering a career in the sector, and how the industry can ensure a barrier-free working environment for women:

Dawn Robinson, Global Director (People) at North P&I:

“My advice would be to be true to yourself. I’d also say that, where possible, it’s important to work in a role that aligns with your character, where you don’t have to put on a persona to try to fit in. There are so many great female role models now within the maritime industry, so take a look and see if there’s someone you’re inspired by and reach out to them to see if they’d be happy to mentor you. Now, more than any other time, we are on the cusp of change, even within the marine industry. There are great opportunities and openness to progress and develop being encouraged – it’s an exciting time to be part of this evolution!”

Lucie-Marie Gauthier, Vice President, Global Talent at Fednav Limited:

“A career in the maritime industry is a fulfilling opportunity to interact daily with people worldwide. By demonstrating problem-solving skills when faced with challenges, you can contribute to the supply chain in a sustainable way. My advice to women joining maritime – follow your instincts, and bring your whole self to work so the industry can truly benefit from the value you can bring to the table.”

Heidi Watson, Partner at Clyde & Co:

“It’s important to remember that not all maritime roles are at shipping companies. I am a female lawyer advising maritime employers on HR issues, and no two days are the same. Whether I’m advising a yacht management company on a new captain’s employment contract, advising a shipowner on a complaint of harassment raised by a member of crew, or co-ordinating a global restructure of shore-based staff, there are always new problems to solve, and I enjoy working with my clients to put best HR practice into effect. By its nature international in its outlook, I am often working with colleagues across our global network, and I love building relationships and working as a global team.”

Teresa Peacock – Managing Director, Executive Search at Spinnaker:

“The government’s latest gender pay report showed women in the UK were paid 90p for every £1 earned by a man. This pay disparity broadens even further in shipping, where Spinnaker’s data shows the salary gap is approximately 40%. There are actionable steps that companies can and must take to bridge the pay gap and give female employees the recognition they deserve. For example, improving salary transparency in job adverts by advertising salary bands can help. Women are generally paid less, so the practice of asking about current salary perpetuates the pay gap as they naturally have a lower start point for negotiation. 

Another cause of pay disparity is maternity leave; improving support, providing extra training when women return to the workplace and offering greater part-time work-from-home flexibility enabling earlier returns can help to keep them in their roles and achieve long-term pay parity with their male counterparts.”

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