An insider’s view of interviewing with Port Of Brisbane

July 17, 2020

As a historically male-dominated industry (big infrastructure, big vessels and big steel boxes), Port of Brisbane is relatively new in their journey when it comes to diversity and inclusion. As a small organisation of around 180 employees – you are probably wondering how a company of this size can shift the dial on gender diversity. We think the Port are punching above their weight and are proud of the impact several of their initiatives have had so far. To see what they offer their people take a look here.

Introducing Teresa

In 2018, the Port caught the eye of Brisbane’s leading IT and Digital expert, Teresa Murphy – who just so happens to be a fierce advocate and thought leader for women in technology. Teresa has recently been promoted onto the Executive Leadership team as Head of Technology. BTW did we mention that the Port’s ELT team is now 33% female?!

With that introduction, we’d like to hand over to Teresa, who answered our most pressing questions (and we hope, yours too)

What drew you to this role in a completely new industry?

Let’s face it, it is true that the Maritime/ Ports industry has been very masculine, but that is changing and there are a lot of opportunities. Before I took this role, I did my research on PBPL. The Board of Directors had a roughly 50/50 gender split. I had worked for a lot of technology companies and none of them came anywhere near this ratio. The information I found on the WORK180 site about the Port’s female marine cadet program which launched shortly before I applied made me confident that the Port recognised the issue and was working hard to build a more inclusive industry.

What can people expect after applying with the Port via WORK180?

The People and Performance team look at all applications and dependant on the strength of the candidate pool will either undertake phone screening or invite people to come straight in for interviews. Interviews are a key component of the selection process. The Port have worked hard over the years to build an interview format that enables everyone to get to know you and understand your experiences, your skillsets and test your alignment with the company’s values. The interview panel also understand that interviews go two ways and invest time to talk about the company, its vision and strategies and how you can contribute meaningfully! Make sure you ask about their support for flexible work!

As part of the process I completed a range of psychometric assessments. It’s crazy how much the organisation can learn from these assessments. The Port is extremely protective of its great culture and places a strong emphasis on this component of selection process.

The feedback I obtained was well worth the effort. I still carry around my notes from the conversation with Fran (the director) to this day. Obviously, I did OK as I was hired!

theresa murphy

Overall, how long does the recruitment process take?

Whilst it extremely thorough; the People and Performance team turn around recruitment processes pretty quickly. They can move from interview, to psychometric assessment to background and reference checks within a fortnight. From the style of interviews and the interactions both over the phone and via email – I found the recruitment process to be a fantastic introduction to the company!

How would you respond to some of the typical perceptions of the Port/Maritime Industry?

Well I think it’s fair to say that when I arrived at the Port, some of my perceptions proved to be true. While the technology in the office was behind the times, there were other sections of the company that were doing some amazing leading-edge tech work like in hydrographic surveying. One of the things which excited me about this role was the opportunity to be part of a program of change. The organization had recently undertaken some analysis of their current versus desired future state with respect to technology and were looking for someone to make this happen. That was exciting.

Congratulations on your recent promotion to the Executive Leadership team! What mark do you hope you and your team will make over the coming years?

As we think towards what PBPL will look like digitally in 2040, there are a lot of exciting opportunities to improve how we do things and what we offer our customers. We are already seeing interest from our customers in the use of autonomous vehicles at the port, artificial intelligence and robotic automation which will become key productivity improvers in nearly all facets of the business. We are also charging ahead with improvements in our approach to asset management and cyber security.

We’ve seen the way we work change dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic and I believe digital technology will continue to reinvent the workplace in the coming years. My and my team’s challenge is to ensure PBPL’s technology and digital position is such that the business can take full advantage of technology to remain competitive, enhance customer and stakeholder value and ensure we are able to respond quickly to changing business needs. An agile, digitally dexterous workforce would be a good legacy.

What advice would you give to anyone curious about stepping into a new industry/our industry?

I think it’s always exciting to step into something new. While there are differences, a lot of the skills you have are transferable into any industry. An open mind and willingness to learn will get you a long way and besides who wouldn’t want to work with a view of the water which changes every day! To stay up to date with PBPL connect with us on our social media platforms and keep an eye on our upcoming vacancies, all of which will be advertised via WORK180.


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About the Author

WORK180 promotes organizational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. We only endorse employers that are committed to making real progress so that all women can expect better.

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