Employment conditions

We are Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)-compliant. All seafarers' contracts are in accordance to local Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)s and International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) standards.

We strive to create a culture where our employees around the world deliver the right results in the right way. The Wilhelmsen governing elements are the foundation for our culture. We are committed to supporting employees in developing their competence and experience to perform in their roles and develop their careers.



Target 2020

Result 2020

Target 2021


Employees are our biggest asset and we proactively look into ways to create a working environment that promotes equal opportunity and diversity.

Online learning have been integral for 2020 with most employees working from home. Developing our employees' competence was the focus. Employees are encouraged to upscale their skills through our extensive library of digital learning courses.

Online learning will continue to be the mainstream for employees' competence development.

Leadership development module will be conducted online to continue nurturing the future leaders within the company.


Wilhelmsen has a clear policy stating that employees have the right to equal opportunities. Harassment and discrimination based on race, gender or similar grounds, or other behaviour that may be perceived as threatening or degrading, is not acceptable. We aim to enrich our workforce with diversity and we will continue to include diversity criteria in our talent programmes.

At the end of 2020, there were 533 employees onshore and 10,639 seafarers in Wilhelmsen Ship Management. 25% of  senior management team positions were held by females.

Demographics - Employees













Turnover rate onshore




Demographics - Diversity





Number of nationalities - onshore




Females - % senior management




Employee engagement survey

In the third quarter of 2020, we conducted an employee engagement survey to measure our ability to provide an engaging and safe work environment where employees are motivated to work and achieve their full potential. The survey results were positive with an overall engagement score of 77 points, up 1 point from the previous year. There was also a high survey completion rate of 89%.  The results point to consistent and positive high engagement, and employees felt positively taken care of during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We always see room for improvement. Senior management and individual managers in all locations were required to conduct follow up discussions with their teams. Where results were less than the expected benchmark, managers were required to implement specific actions to improve results.

Engagement survey and performance appraisal

Response rate




Engagement survey completion rate




Engagement survey score




Performance appraisal completion rate




Keeping engagement levels high

2020 was a challenging year as international travels were restricted and social distancing measures were enforced. To maintain our collaborative spirit while distanced, we introduced new ways to keep the communication channel robust with the aim to keep all employees and seafarers closer.

Maintaining an official channel to provide consistent and accurate flow of information was critical at the beginning of the pandemic as countries we operate in were beginning to impose lockdown. 

The Global Emergency Response team was mobilized to keep employees and seafarers informed of operational changes and safety news:

  • - Business Continuity Plan shared for every local offices including manning office
    - Clear internal communication were disseminated by e-mail and through managers to assure employees of safety measures undertaken
    - Localised COVID-19 related information to keep employees updated
    - Clear and consistent messaging to inform employees and seafarers

Capability development

"Learning and innovation" is one of the group's core values, and Wilhelmsen places particular emphasis on continuous learning through on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving (70% of learning); feedback, coaching (formal and informal) and networks (20% of learning); and formal classroom courses, e-learning, seminars, videos etc. (10% of learning). A learning organisation with motivated employees contributes to efficient operations and has a positive impact on revenue and earnings. Personal development plans for all employees are integrated in the performance appraisal and review process.


Continuous e-learning
In the changing competitive landscape, it is important that we all stay relevant through continuous learning and development. We have invested in a large library of courses from LinkedIn Learning for employees to proactively take charge of their own development.

Leadership competence
Securing a safe and engaging work environment where our employees can do their best and live up to the standards in our governing elements, requires a lot from our leaders. 

In 2020, Wilhelmsen group implemented a new leadership development approach to support our leaders and increase our leadership bench strength. The leadership development journey consists of 2-3 learning modules per year for all leaders (approximately 850) in the group. 160 top leaders completed the first module in 2020 which focused on our leadership expectations.

In 2021, the remaining 700 leaders will be ready to  be onboarded into this continuous learning journey.


Seafarers have extensive training throughout the year to comply with rules and regulation and best practice. Our systems are built to ensure proper certificates and competencies for the seafarers, and not for collecting quantitative statistics such as number of training hours/days.

We are therefore not able to report on the average number of training hours per year for seafarers. However, we understand that quantitative KPIs form an important part of accountability and continual improvement – we are in the process of developing this ability and will report on progress in next year's report.

Developing our crews' soft skills is crucial for a healthy working environment on board. Officers Conferences were held online in 2020 to ensure that these skills continue to be transferred to our crew. 

Data automation for future ready talents

Continual technological improvements has allowed the automation of some tasks. Our focus on operational efficiency allows us to deliver more value to our customers, while maintaining our rigorous standards.  

In 2020, we have doubled the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) processes within our operations. RPA has taken away a lot of repetitive tasks that are manual and time-consuming. Employees are driven to delivery better results and there is more room for value creation.

In 2021, we are looking to further automate our processes in more business areas. We plan to support our employees' professional development by training them with new skills and provide them the opportunity to take on new roles in our company.

Just Culture

Just Culture was launched with the aim to create an environment where employees can thrive. This a culture that holds organizations accountable for the systems they design and for how they respond to staff behaviors fairly and justly. This culture is widely adopted in many companies around the world that are focused on safety and quality. 

The essence of Just Culture is not entirely new to us, for decades we have been guided by our policies, systems, processes and company values which hold a strong foundation to this culture.

Launching Just Culture is a way to ensure employees that we have a workplace built on trust and responsible behavior where people are encouraged to share essential information without fear. The 3 guiding principles are:

Accountability: Taking ownership of work performance, customers, successes and even failures.
Empathy: Complete understanding when working in a diverse team with members coming from different cultural backgrounds and age groups.
Fair & Just System: Learning from mistakes and seek to improve from it. When human error is made while working in systems, processes and policies defined by us, we will neither assume nor seek personal fault or guilt.

Related readings

Career opportunities and maritime training

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