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Gender diversity in maritime

20 February 2019


The Maritime HR Association released their 12th Salary Survey in October.  This year, 86 companies participated in the survey, reporting data for more than 25,000 shore-based maritime industry professionals in 94 countries.

But the story doesn’t stop once the salary survey reports have been published.  The team then begin work on the Market Analysis reports, reporting on various topics including Chartering, Gender, Allowances and Technical & Marine. Today we put the spotlight on Gender Diversity within maritime……..

  • Figure 1 reveals 35% of the global Maritime HR Association workforce were female in 2018 (with 52% male and 13% unknown). This is similar to previous years.
  • Over 76% of that female workforce work in administrative, junior or professional level roles. Figure 2 shows that very few reach managerial level or above. Just over 10% of those on executive leadership teams are women, with female Executives most likely to operate as Chief Financial Officers.
  • Norway has the highest proportion of women operating at executive leadership team level - at 43%. Norway has a 40% quota for female directors, introduced in 2006.
  • Women are most likely to be found in corporate support functions – making up over 50% of the Crewing, HR, Finance, Marketing and Admin Support roles.
  • In maritime specific job families, it is not a surprise, given seagoing demographics, to find males occupying the majority of those roles that require a deck or engineering background. In Technical, Marine, Safety & Quality roles, females represent 14% of the workforce overall. This compares to 18% in Chartering & Freight Trading roles. 
  • The Commercial Operations job family is 31% female, with more representation of women across the hierarchy than other job families.
  • Location wise, the largest discrepancy between the number of male and female employees continues to be found in Africa, the Middle East and India (where less than a quarter of the workforce are female). This compares to over 60% in Western and Southern Europe and 35% in the USA.

Diversity challenges within your business will vary based on location, culture and professional specialisms – each of which will pose their own unique challenges – but there are some key HR practices that can be adopted to support total inclusivity globally.

Get in touch (via email or +44 (0)1702 481660) with the HR Consulting team at Spinnaker Global to find out more about membership of the Maritime HR Association and/or gender diversity strategies.