Maritime employers get thumbs up from shoreside staff for Covid response

Shipping’s employers have responded well in looking after their shore-based teams during the ongoing Covid pandemic, according to the results of a new survey of maritime employees, in contrast to the experiences of seafarers during the pandemic. Further action is needed to confront discrimination and to support diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the survey shows.

The 12th Annual Maritime Employee Survey was conducted earlier this year by Halcyon Recruitment, Diversity Study Group and Coracle Maritime. The survey received over 1,000 responses from those in shore-based employment, spanning all sectors, job roles and regions of the global maritime industry.

The results paint a broadly positive picture of working life for those in shoreside roles during the Covid pandemic and an endorsement for the action taken by employers in response to lockdown restrictions around the world.

87% of respondents state they are either ready to move to a new role or are open to offers

Most respondents gave a positive response to the steps taken by their employers, with 73% stating that their employer has responded appropriately, 68% saying that their employer has supported them to work flexibly, and 75% feeling connected with their team and colleagues. At the same time, 53% reported an increase in their workload because of Covid.

The maritime jobs market appears fluid, with 87% of respondents stating that they are either ready to move to a new role or are open to offers. This may be due to the success of remote working, with employees confident that they can work successfully, despite the restrictions of the past year, with many workplaces closed and very limited face-to-face contact with colleagues or customers.

The survey also reveals an unwelcome picture when it comes to discrimination in the maritime industry. Just over half of all survey respondents (51%) stated that they are personally aware of discrimination within the shipping industry. The three leading causes of discrimination were nationality (53%), gender (44%) and age (40%).

Furthermore, only 52% of respondents said that they felt able to raise discrimination concerns with their current employer.

When it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the maritime industry, 70% said that they would like to see their employer do more to achieve a diverse and inclusive workforce, with a further 63% describing diversity in the workplace as being extremely important to them. 42% of respondents knew that their employer operates a Diversity and Inclusion programme.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Heidi Heseltine, CEO of Halcyon Recruitment and co-founder of the Diversity Study Group, said: “Shipping’s shore-based teams and employers have responded incredibly well to the unique circumstances of the past year, as the results of our survey show and the resilience and adaptability of employees around the globe deserves to be recognised. It is hard, however, not to draw the contrast between the experience of shore-based shipping professionals and those of the severe challenges faced by those working at sea during this time.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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