Supporting retention and skill development
Maersk Supply Service has recently started a Female Sounding Board, a quarterly forum, where female representatives from both onshore and offshore positions discuss three key focus areas: Recruiting, Retaining, and Developing our offshore female employees. We aim to help support female seafarers in their ambition to have a career within the maritime industry and pursue top-ranking positions. The forum is run by a mix of on and offshore female colleagues across different regions. For example, as I come from Brazil and have worked offshore, I can share my perspectives to help our female seafarers find more inclusive solutions that fit their needs.
At our first Female Sounding Board meeting, we discussed several aspects of retention. For example, what are the main considerations with working offshore, could our female seafarers be better supported, what is the main reason why female seafarers leave the career and how could we change this for them?
The guidelines regarding pregnancy vary from country to country, but in Brazil, pregnant women cannot work offshore for the entirety of their pregnancy. Instead of being off work for nine months, plus maternity cover, Maersk Supply Service would like to retain our seafarers by providing the opportunity to work onshore in a temporary position. Additionally, we can utilise our existing pool of talent to fulfil our onshore needs. For one seafarer, whilst she was pregnant, we transferred her to a relevant onshore role. This way, we could develop her skillset while retaining her accrued offshore knowledge.
In many cultures, women often step away from their careers to take care of their families, and during that time, various offshore certificates and licenses can expire. We want to minimise the challenges for women returning to work after having children. To make it easier for female seafarers, we would like to support them in renewing their licenses or certificates with the necessary training and administrative paperwork.
A simple but effective initiative that also came from this meeting was to utilise the ‘buddy system’. As it can often feel lonely being offshore away from your family and having no other female around, by pairing up female seafarers together, they have someone to work alongside throughout their shift.