ShippingWatch: Language changes in job postings to attract more women at Odfjell

In an interview with ShippingWatch, VP Corporate HR Ingjerd Nettestad and CSO Øistein Jensen share some of the measures Odfjell takes to increase diversity at sea and ashore. One example: Change wording in job postings.

The below are excerpts of an article in ShippingWatch, published April 13, 2021. Written by Idha Toft Valeur, English edit by L.N. Barnes. 


Chemical tanker carrier Odfjell has found that easy-to-miss details in job postings can be crucial in getting more women to apply. Which details, you ask? The language.

Norwegian chemical tanker company Odfjell has changed the wording in job postings, a change that has led more women to apply and get to the first stage of interviews. 

Odfjell's total staff currently counts around 34 percent women, but the number varies greatly depending on departments in the organization.

The overall goal is to, by 2030, have a distribution of no less than 30 percent women in each department. This does not, however, apply to job positions at sea.  
 

Odfjell crew on deck of one of the company's chemical tankers


The power of language

One of the measures to create a better gender balance is precisely the focus on choosing which words to use in job postings, and not least how they are structured.

"We use a decoder, a language wash, on our texts to see if it is aimed at one gender over another and to ensure that it is neutral. Then we adjust the text accordingly. When we enter the market and realize that we don't receive a diverse pool of candidates, we postpone as much as possible. The process is then repeated with different wording through new channels, and we use networks to spread the text. We are doing everything we can to ensure that both genders are represented"

Ingjerd Nettestad, VP Corporate HR


Odfjell is now working on bringing in more cadets from schools. They are currently in a recruitment process and expect 25 percent of new cadets, hired from now until the spring, to be women. 
 

The brightest minds

The work to improve gender diversity will also benefit another major agenda in shipping, which is the green transition. As these challenges require our brightest minds, it is necessary to remove all blinders and expand the horizon so there are more people to recruit from, states Odfjell.

The company points to research which shows that increased diversity goes hand in hand with both problem solving and innovation, so it does not make sense to limit recruitment to only half of the earth's population.


Odfjell's current target is to be climate neutral by 2050, but it has not yet been determined how the company will get there, says Jensen.

Read the complete article on Shippingwatch.com. 

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