UK maritime minister warns lack of diversity is holding shipping back

Shipping’s lack of diversity among its workforce is holding it back, the UK’s minister for maritime Nusrat Ghani warned yesterday.

Giving the keynote address at the 13th annual Maritime HR conference in London organised by Spinnaker Global, Ghani told the 200 delegates attending that it is critical to change the lack of diversity in maritime, something that would make the sector far healthier.

Ghani highlighted statistics showing that 96% of the workforce are male. Ghani used her keynote to reiterate calls for people to sign up to the Women in Maritime charter, something launched by lobby group Maritime UK last year that has seen more than 100 companies sign up to the movement that celebrates gender diversity in the workplace.

Ghani also discussed how shipping has a responsibility to look at seafarer mental health.

Among other topics covered in the speech, the maritime minister stated that the shortfall of UK cadets is an issue currently being looked at by her department. Ghani also said STEM subjects for those aspiring to a career in shipping will be more and more critical as technology advances. Future UK seafarers will need transferable IT skills to keep up with technology, Ghani said.

The Maritime HR conference continues today.

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.


  1. Does the good minister have any data to back her claim, or is she just being a……. Politician?
    The #maritime industry is one of the last meritocratic industries left untouched by forced #diversity. It is one with no significant #gender based #discrimination.

  2. UK seems to be working at cross purposes, some calling for diversity, some calling to closed boarders. That aside, even if the diversity is not as diverse as some of our understanding of diversity, there is still scope to increase the number of women despite what the goodly captain above said. I have not the time or strength now to go look for the evidence to point out, but I am wondering which world he/she (I should not assume by the name because I am not familiar with a non English name to guess at the gender of the writer. Would definitely not be able to say how the person identifies) is living in when he /she said there is “no significant gender based discrimination” in shipping. I can only sigh at this point.

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