Diversity and inclusion can help alleviate the aviation skills shortage

January 24, 2017 in News for Clients

Diversity and inclusion can help alleviate the aviation skills shortage

Hands together showing diversity

77% of CEOs have a diversity and inclusion strategy, or plan to adopt one in the next 12 months.

However, despite proof that they’re just as capable than their counterparts – women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are still massively under-represented in aviation.

With the skills shortage causing disruption across the industry, isn’t it time that aviation recruiters started looking to these groups to help alleviate the crisis?

What are the benefits of high levels of inclusion and diversity?

The benefits of inclusion and diversity are almost incalculable:

  • It can help you plug talent gaps and give you access to new ideas and perspectives.
  • It’s morally right, and shows passengers and candidates that you want to be representative.
  • It can gain your company a greater market share, and make it easier to move into new markets.
  • It can improve your bottom line (85% of CEOs1) and make you a more attractive employment proposition.
  • It can improve national GDP (5% in the US, 11% in Italy, and 27% in India2) and enable you to comply with government contract prerequisites.

What does inclusion and diversity look like in the aviation industry?

With just 3% of pilots worldwide being female (4,000 of 130,000), it’s hardly surprising that aviation isn’t known as a particularly diverse industry. Here’s how pilot numbers break down in the US:

  • Female pilots = 4.1%
  • Black pilots = 2.7%
  • Asian pilots = 2.5%
  • Hispanic pilots = 5%
  • White male pilots = 85.7%

While aviation companies could do more to improve inclusion and diversity, much of the problem boils down to old forms of racial and gender-based bias.

What can aviation companies do to improve inclusion and diversity?

It’s ultimately down to aviation companies to improve inclusion and diversity across the industry. But, if such initiatives help to alleviate the skills shortage, the rewards could be great.

Here’s a look at some of the initiatives that could help improve inclusion and diversity in the aviation industry:

  • Aviation companies must work with schools to bring in more female and BAME speakers from the industry to inspire students to consider a career in aviation and take the necessary STEM subjects, in which they’ve always been chronically under-represented.
  • More aviation companies must launch targeted hiring campaigns similar to EasyJet’s ‘Amy Johnson Flying Initiative’, which aims to increase the number of female pilots in the airline from 4% to 12%.
  • Inspirational female and BAME aviation figures should be better promoted to change people’s perceptions of the aviation industry, including Carol Vorderman (who’s set to fly solo around the world) and Dorothy Saul-Pooley (master of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots until recently).
  • Aviation industry representatives must work with governments to hold more initiatives in line with the ‘International Women in Aviation Conference’ and ‘Girls in Aviation Day’; a US initiative designed to encourage more women to join the aviation industry.
  • With the aviation skills shortage in full swing and only set to get worse, it’s never been more important for you to enhance your diversity and inclusion processes to help plug the gaps and bring in fresh new talent.

Call on AeroProfessional and bring a new approach to diversity and inclusion to your aviation company.

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