A culture of inclusion and flexible work

13 April 2021

One of the challenges that organisations face in achieving gender equality and diversity in the workplace is the unequal balance of women in senior roles. The presence of women in decision-making roles is crucial to achieve a well-balanced environment and to reduce gender bias in organisations.

At Höegh Autoliners, providing an inclusive workspace where everyone is treated fairly and given equal career development opportunities is one of the pillars of our sustainability agenda. Working hard to achieve gender balance in management and senior management roles across the organisation is a key priority.

Harnessing flexibility

Maria Schepers started as a trainee in our German office in 2001 and is now Head of Sales in Germany. She confirms that one of the wishes often put forward by women who are taking on more senior roles is the need for flexibility and an inclusive environment.

Maria says, "I have worked in the company for 18 years and I have always felt that I have been treated with respect and given equal opportunities throughout my career."

Maria continues,

The company has always promoted a flexible work environment, and this has been particularly vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, in Germany, schools have been closed for an extended period, and our flexible work environment has enabled our team to care for their children as well as manage their work.

With current technological developments, it is becoming easier to make our workplaces adapt to the needs of our people.

Laura Exner, Chief HR and Communications Officer says,

Today, we are not bound to our desks in the office to be able to do our work, we can work from laptops and mobile phones from any corner of the world. However, working from home or working flexible hours is not only a matter of technology – it is a matter of culture and embedding new ways of working.

Equal opportunities for all

Having an inclusive work environment encourages more women to reach their full potential. And having more women in senior roles also inspires women in the company to pursue their career goals.

Melanie Zoleta, Contract Manager in Höegh Autoliners, says, "I have always imagined the shipping industry to be dominated by men and that I would not fit in. But when the position from Höegh Autoliners was posted, I was curious and wanted to learn more about the company."

To Melanie’s surprise, she found that there were not only many women in the office in Manila but her line manager, the General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for the company, was a woman.

Melanie says,

It is quite impressive, inspiring, and empowering. Now I know this is a company where I can be myself, see development opportunities for me and can achieve my full potential.