Recruitment important for equality goals at Stena Line

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Stena Line has set up clear targets for its work on equality: by 2022, 30% of the company’s senior management positions will be held by women. The company’s HR manager explained how this would be done.

This spring, Stena Line really stuck its neck out on the issue of equality and announced that 30% of its managerial jobs will be held by women in 2022. Ambitious but fully possible, says the company’s HR manager Margareta Jensen Dickson, one of the driving forces behind the company’s work on gender equality.

“Our goal is not just about having more women on the deck and in the engine rooms – we want this to apply to the entire company, including ports and shore-based operations. We are trying to focus on what we are able to influence and change, which in fact is more than you might think.”

Strong support

“There is a great deal of support from the management at Stena Line to achieve the goal of equality,” she says.

“The entire management team is with us and the company’s CEO is also backing it. Everybody wants us to succeed, so I can see no reason why we shouldn’t do it. After all, half of the entire labour market still consists of women,” she says and continues.

“What may be a challenge is the fact that the shipping industry is so male-dominated and conservative. I think that everyone can join in and contribute by telling other people what a cool, fantastic industry shipping is to work in and just what an important part of society it is.”

To achieve this objective, those in charge of recruiting new managers and employees need to think in new terms, says Margareta Jensen Dickson. When a managerial post is advertised, many people in recruiting imagine a man being interviewed despite the fact that it could just as well be a woman.

“Our new port manager in Poland started in September and she is our first female port manager ever. We have operations in ten countries and eight regions, and the target of 30% women in leading positions is the same for all these countries,” she says.

Margareta Jensen Dickson explains that Stena Line’s equality target emerged at a meeting during the London Shipping Week in 2017. Only about 3% of the personnel in the maritime sector in the UK are women and this figure is about the same in the rest of Europe. After the meeting, Maritime UK – the British equivalent of the Swedish Shipowners’ Association – put together a working group called Women in Maritime and one year later Stena Line decided to join. The target of 30% women in leading positions is Stena Line’s own decision, however, and part of the focus area of Equality which is included in the corporate sustainability strategy.

“Since we are a ferry operator we have slightly higher proportion of women than many other shipping companies. During the last two years we have moved from around 14% women in leading positions to about 20%, so we are well on the way.” Stena Line has also introduced a zero vision of harassment at the workplace.

Linda Sundgren

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