WHEN people ask why I chose to work in the shipping industry, they are really asking, why is a girl wanting to work in such a male dominated area? When you think of the shipping industry it probably conjures ideas of old white men on yachts or manly stevedores in boiler suits. The reality is every day there are more and more women joining this industry, changing that perception and we are starting young.
There is a huge amount of flexibility when working in global trade, which makes it attractive to people who want a good work-life balance. You can start later in the day to keep in touch with Asia, then take a break to spend time with your family, before logging on at night to catch the Europeans.
There are also many groups popping up that you can join to feel more supported. To meet other likeminded young people and get educated in different areas to help promote yourself in the industry. If you’ve been attending Young Shipping Australia events, you will see the room is becoming more female-dominated. And if you have look at the organising committee, you will understand why.
A great thing about having access to these non-for-profit groups is meeting other young people who are doing what you do every day and can understand your experiences. It also gives you the opportunity to learn about different other sides of shipping; not everyone who joins these groups is working for a shipping line, they might be a lawyer with a specialisation in maritime law, a freight forwarder with an interest in sea freight, a terminal operator or a person in some way affiliated with shipping. Getting the chance to have lunch on the bridge with a captain or take a tour of the harbour on a tug boat are experiences that you cannot get in a typical desk job.
Get in touch
If you are wondering about whether this industry is right for you, reach out. There is a group out there for you, a group that can give a safe place to learn from peers and advance your career. When I meet new people, they usually have not heard of the company I work for, nor understand how shipping can be such a huge part of their lives.
But, when you start to think about the fact that the surface of the world is more than 70% water and Australia is an island, you start to realise how important it is that people continue to join us in this industry.
Shipping may not seem like it is that up-and-coming, but everyday there is new technology being developed that makes it increasingly exciting to be in this “old manly industry”.
* Lina Maria Corrigan is import team leader at Maersk Line Australia
This article appeared in the August edition of DCN Magazine