Proportion Of Women in Maritime Technical And Marine Roles ‘Stagnant’

Credit: Ümit Yıldırım/Unsplash

As the world marks International Women’s Day, human resource (HR) survey data from 2022 shows a lack of diversity, particularly in senior roles, reports Riviera.

Extreme gender disparity

Maritime HR firm Spinnaker’s salary survey from 2022 showed technical roles in the maritime sector quickly move away from relative equality at a trainee level to extreme gender disparity at director level.

The proportion of women in what Spinnaker categorised as the technical and marine job family “remains stagnant at around 13%”, according to Spinnaker’s salary survey. And that figure has declined by 2% as compared with the same company’s survey data from 2020.

“At a junior/trainee level, 44% of reported incumbents are women, however, this percentage steeply drops to 10% at the professional level and keeps declining until it reaches just 3% at the head of/director level. Despite a slight improvement at the head of/director level (1% more females in charge since 2021), we can still state the job family is one of the least gender diverse across the others reported,” Spinnaker reported.

The survey took in data from 83 of Maritime HR Association members covering more than 4,800 technical and marine staff based in or originating from 74 countries. The sample represents 12% of the reported workforce.

An entrenched trend in the maritime sector to hire ex-seafarers for roles in the technical and marine job family is a central factor in the gender divide in these roles on shore.

“The lack of women on board is impacting the number of women in these jobs ashore,” Spinnaker said. “We know from the market that women are more likely to be found in the deck teams on board, so it’s not surprising that technical roles ashore are male-dominated.”

International Maritime Organization (IMO) statistics reveal only 2% of seafarers are female.


In launching its own International Day for Women in Maritime in 2022, which is marked on 18 May every year, IMO secretary general Kitack Lim cited the figure that women account for just 20% of the workfore in the maritime authorities of IMO member states and 29% across the industry’s subsectors.

Marking International Women’s Day 2023 with a speech at IMO headquarters, secretary general Lim said the changes shipping is undergoing require “the best talent” and securing that talent “means embracing diversity”.

“Shipping is going through a transformation, tackling climate change through decarbonisation and undergoing digitalisation and automation at a rapid rate,” he said. “In maritime and across all sectors, working environments must be enabling, supportive and inclusive of diverse participation by all, without hindrance.”

In 2015, secretary general Lim appointed Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry as the first woman to serve as president of the IMO-linked World Maritime University.

On the first International Day for Women in Maritime, Dr Doumbia-Henry, a Dominica-born expert on maritime law and international labour standards at sea told the Pew Charitable Trusts that policy is key to ensuring women’s contributions are recognised adequately.

“Women will only gain due recognition of their socioeconomic contribution if gender is considered integral to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of … maritime policies and programmes. This may mean adapting legislation taking into account traditional practices and making them compatible with gender equality. Raising awareness, education and training are essential to effective implementation of such policies and guidelines,” Dr Doumbia-Henry said.

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Source: Riviera


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