A “DISCONNECT” exists between what maritime companies say and do in the field of gender diversity, a new report maintains.

The Diversity – Women in Maritime report, prepared by MIAL, focused on gender diversity with 157 survey responses from a cross-section of Australia’s maritime sector.

The report identified many areas of tremendous alignment between companies and employees, as well as in organisational strategy.

However, there were also areas where there was a disconnect between what companies said they were doing and what employees experienced.

According to MIAL, “valuable insights” were gained from a breadth of sectors ranging from oil and gas operators, port/harbour services, shipowners, education providers, government departments and professional service providers.

Key findings were:

  • A majority of company policies include a policy on gender equality;
  • Both smaller organisations and larger organisations have higher female representation in their workforce compared to other organisational sizes;
  • The defence industry is strong in its employment of females in younger age brackets in both seagoing and shore-based roles, which increases the gender diversity input across the breadth of the maritime industry;
  • Without the defence industry, the representation of females within seagoing roles in particular is very low;
  • Organisations largely don’t incorporate gender diversity strategies in recruitment processes;
  • The biggest barriers to entry identified by both employees and organisations is work/life balance and unconscious bias; and
  • The number of females in leadership roles within organisations is low overall, particularly in higher level leadership roles.

“No-one thinks addressing the imbalance in workforce gender participation is easy,” said MIAL CEO Teresa Lloyd.

“Cultural shifts take time and by-in is required throughout organisations,” she said. “The fundamental structure of the maritime sector workforce is one of the challenges the current industry leadership must grapple with. The result will be their legacy.”