Survey: UK seafood industry needs to address gender imbalance

Published on
June 16, 2017
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Women are being underrepresented across the U.K. seafood industry and leading players need to do a lot more to bring more female talent into the sector, finds a new survey.

As part of a wider ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the disparity and to attract more women to the sector, the survey carried out by U.K. seafood authority Seafish and IntraFish Media canvassed people working across the seafood supply chain, with a focus on women, to ascertain their views on gender diversity and to identify potential barriers for joining the industry.

The research found that gender bias remains a common issue in the industry with 30 percent of respondents having encountered it in some form during their career, while 48 percent of respondents said they felt women were discouraged from joining the industry because it is perceived to be male dominated. Consequently, 67 percent believed that the U.K. industry could do more to encourage women to take up the career opportunities the seafood sector offers.

However, for those respondents currently working in the sector, 77 percent said they would actively encourage more women to join. Furthermore, 90 percent of those advocating seeking out a career in the industry said that they found the work engaging and challenging. 

Forty-six percent said that they thought more women would seek a career in the industry if there was a greater understanding of the opportunities available and 39 percent said a clearer progression into senior roles would be a greater draw for female applicants. Additionally, almost a third felt that support through a mentoring or networking group would also help encourage more women into the industry.

“This survey has shown us that people currently working in the industry are passionate and willing to champion our industry to attract new talent. However, there is a feeling that there is work to be done, in terms of highlighting the opportunities, in particular career progression, and making the industry a more attractive and accessible place for female employees,” said Mel Groundsell, corporate relations director at Seafish.

The authority will be looking at the possibility of setting up a dedicated mentoring or networking body for women in the months ahead, she said. 

“We know that gender balance is good for business. According to Lord Davies’ ‘Women on Boards Report,’ companies with more women on their boards were found to outperform their rivals with a 42 percent higher return in sales, 66 percent higher return on invested capital and 53 percent higher return on equity. The seafood industry must therefore look to understand the vital importance of tapping into the huge pool of talent, know-how and competence that women represent."

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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