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Introducing the Diversity in Maritime Interview Pool

The Diversity in Maritime Interview Pool was set up by Maritime UK to support organisations connect with women in the maritime sector who can help with recruitment.

The idea behind this is to facilitate the creation of gender balanced interview panels.

Deepa Lad, a compliance manager at the Baltic Exchange, explains more.

What is it?

The interview pool is made up of a bank of volunteers from across various sectors who assist organisations to provide female representation and gender balance on an interview panel. The initiative is designed to help maritime organisations that may lack diversity – especially on an interview panel.

The interview pool is one of a kind and something really quite remarkable in paving the way to breaking barriers for women in maritime. Maritime UK is the only organisation in the world providing this initiative and I am privileged to help offer services for interviewers, and in turn interviewees, to ensure female candidates have the opportunity to perform at their best in a male dominated industry.

There are two perspectives here. One is allowing employers to help tackle their own Diversity and Inclusion [D&I] challenges, supporting them and in turn advancing D&I initiatives across the maritime industry. The second is that we want to support female interviewees by ensuring they are able to perform at their best and not overcome by “imposter syndrome” when faced by an all-male interview panel.

Why take part?

Advancing diversity and inclusion efforts is doing more than just saying “we care about D&I.” It is being able to demonstrate what steps you take to tackle existing D&I challenges. The maritime sector is one industry that has struggled to portray an adequate representation of females within the industry. Arguably, it has been a long-standing issue and, as with most things, it has almost become the “norm.”

I’m taking part in the interview pool as a representative of the Baltic Exchange as everyone has a part to play. The Baltic has made an internal commitment to raise awareness and break barriers where D&I is concerned, which is hugely positive. D&I initiatives will be most impactful when we all work together as an industry to tackle long-standing problems and gender imbalance. In short, every company that is involved in the maritime industry should be getting on board.

I was inspired to take part because as a female, and someone who joined maritime when there was very little female representation, I felt personally connected to this great initiative. It’s a truly positive step towards tackling gender bias/gender imbalance within the industry and ensuring women have an equal footing.

How will this make a positive change to the industry?

This initiative will see some direct positive action being taken by maritime organisations that lack female representation, however, the positive changes are not limited to that. For example, this initiative not only provides access, it is also driving a beneficial cultural change within organisations.

Seeing companies access the interview pool is allowing maritime companies to address D&I in their recruitment and hiring practices, which is one of the most important areas to focus any D&I strategy on. There has been strong empirical evidence that D&I can be beneficial for all. For employers, you have the ability to be more innovative as you have access to a diverse talent pool of ideas. For employees, an inclusive environment will allow for employee productivity and engagement. This can lead to employees taking more pride in their work and having a desire to come to work which results in higher employee retention.

If an organisation is keen to evolve its D&I approach, where is better to look than at your own interview panel? Unconscious bias can be an issue in recruitment processes. Whilst there is no exact quantifiable way to measure D&I and whether it is achieved, this interview pool certainly changes perceptions for all the right reasons.
Source: Baltic Exchange

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