The double whammy of Brexit and the pandemic has led to a shortage of people needed to fill vacant roles and address the huge skills shortage in the shipping sector.
Stena Line said that if the shipping industry is going to solve its jobs’ crisis, there is a simple solution; it urgently needs to encourage more women to work in careers at sea, in roles that are often still viewed as for men.
With a shortage of skilled labour within the shipping industry there is currently fierce competition for talent. Therefore, now more than ever, it is vitally important that companies like Stena Line provide an attractive place for young seafarers to work and develop successful careers.
In order to succeed at this the Swedish ferry company said it was hoping to build on its existing strong diversity drive to recruit more women, and crucially promote them to senior positions.
Stena has set a target of appointing 30% females managers by the end of 2022. In a sector where only 2% of the 1.2 mill seafarers are women this is an ambitious target that lays down a gauntlet for other companies to try to achieve, the ferry company said.
This year, Stena Line has appointed its first female Captain, as 33 year old Lynette Bryson became Master of the ‘Stena Adventurer’ in the Irish Sea, where she also has a full female bridge team of officers.
Speaking after her appearance at the Women in Maritime Summit, which has held as part of London International Shipping Week (LISW), Margaret Jensen Dickson, Group Head of People at Stena Line (pictured), said: “The shipping sector is in a jobs’ crisis and there is a shortage of people in every part of the industry. No matter whether the problem is caused by Brexit, or the pandemic, there is simple solution and that is to encourage more women to work in shipping.
“The people shortage is one of the biggest crises Stena Line has ever faced and we are throwing the kitchen sink at it. On board roles can no longer be seen as a male domain. With the appointment of Lynette Bryson as our first female Captain, we have shown that woman can and will succeed at sea and Stena Line will be here to support them,” she said.
‘Stena Adventurer’ is one of the largest vessels in Stena Line’s fleet and serves the key Dublin to Holyhead route, where it operates four trips a day. As Night Master, it means Bryson, and her team of female officers, are in charge of two trips.
Since joining Stena Line in 2017, Bryson has worked up through the ranks, gaining four promotions, as a result of her professional, dedicated and diligent approach to her key leadership on the vessel, the company said.
Capt Bryson, said: “I am incredibly proud to be sailing as Master on the ‘Stena Adventurer’, and as the first female Master at the company; this could not have been done without the support of my colleagues at Stena Line.
“As a young woman, I always dreamt of a career at sea and never thought I could ever achieve being a Captain. I hope my position can encourage more young women to follow my path and have a successful maritime career,” she added.
During the pandemic, Stena Line has played a crucial role in supporting new maritime recruits from other parts of shipping, particularly the cruise sector. With cruise lines no longer operating deck cadets and trainees, they were able to work for Stena Line, to gain enough hours at sea to graduate.
Stena said that its diversity ambitions are guided by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 5 – Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls– and specifically, to achieve Target 5.5 ’Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life’.
The aim is to successfully fulfil one of the key indicators to achieving this, which is the ‘proportion of women in managerial positions’.