Prejudice against women ‘prevalent in seafood industry’

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Prejudice against women remains a problem in the UK seafood industry, warned industry body Seafish
Prejudice against women remains a problem in the UK seafood industry, warned industry body Seafish

Related tags: Gender

Prejudice against women remains a common problem in the UK seafood sector, revealed a new survey by industry body Seafish, as the organisation urged more women to join the sector.

The organisation – in collaboration with publication IntraFish Media –​ canvassed those working across the UK seafood supply chain, with a focus on women, to find out their views on gender diversity and potential barriers for women joining the industry. 

Nearly a third (30%) of respondents said they had encountered gender bias in some form during their career. Nearly half (48%) said they felt women were discouraged from joining the industry because it is perceived to be male dominated.

Many warned women were underrepresented across the sector.

Most respondents (68%) said that women made up less than 20% of the total number of attendees at business meetings or industry networking events. As a result, two-thirds (67%) felt that the UK industry could do more to encourage women to take up careers in the seafood sector.

Huge pool of talent

Seafish corporate relations director Mel Groundsell said that the seafood industry should realise the vital importance of tapping into the huge pool of talent, know-how and competence that women represent.

“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.

“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% higher return in sales, 66% higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity.”

More than three quarters (77%) of people working across the UK seafood industry said they would actively encourage more women to join the sector. Of these respondents, 90% said they found the work engaging and challenging.

Understanding of the opportunities available

Almost half of respondents (46%) said they thought more women would seek a career in the industry if there was a greater understanding of the opportunities available. Two-fifths (39%) said a clearer progression into senior roles would be a greater draw for female applicants. 

Almost a third (30%) felt that support through a mentoring or networking group would also help encourage more women into the industry.

IntraFish​ editor Elisabeth Fischer said the survey results revealed that gender inequality was still prevalent in the sector.

“But it was promising to see that the big majority of respondents said they would actively encourage other women to seek a career in the seafood industry,”​ added Fischer.

Meanwhile, the gender pay-gap in the manufacturing sector – including the food and drink industry – is due to a lack of young girls studying science, technology, engineering and maths subjects,​ claimed the EEF, the manufacturer’s organisation.  

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