Is enough progress being made to close the aviation gender gap?

    The question of whether current aviation talent search initiatives place sufficient emphasis on attracting more women into this area of the global workforce continually comes up in the headlines, with several stories reported in the past few days painting a mixed picture.

    A leading UK airline CEO and the head of aviation and international asset finance at an Irish business law firm are among those to have expressed concern about the extent of progress being made to encourage greater gender diversity in the sector.

    Aerospace still a “male-dominated” industry

    The biggest independent regional airline in Europe, Flybe, has unveiled a campaign to get more young women interested in aviation careers, as it seeks to address the industry’s persistent gender imbalance.

    The Exeter-based airline said that findings showed girls were four times less likely than boys to aspire to be a pilot or engineer, but were three times more likely to become cabin crew staff.

    It has therefore launched the ‘FlyShe’ campaign to attempt to bridge this gap by inspiring young girls to consider roles as engineers and pilots. Women employed in such posts will visit children in classrooms across the country as part of the initiative.

    Flybe CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener commented that “aviation is still very much a male-dominated industry”, adding: “The pipeline of female talent in engineering and piloting is simply not there.

    “We cannot ignore the fact that the research indicated that nearly one in five girls believe there are jobs they cannot do and I firmly believe that young women cannot be what they cannot see. Through FlyShe, we are committed to showing women they can fly high – whatever it is they want to do.”

    Diversity could also be improved in Ireland

    Looking across the Irish Sea, meanwhile, the law firm Mason Hayes & Curran has described a lack of improvement on diversity in the Irish aerospace industry as “a cause for concern”.

    The firm’s latest annual survey of the aviation sector indicated that there were still few women progressing to senior leadership positions, with only 16% of respondents saying that over 30% of senior roles in their company were held by women.

    Christine O’Donovan, Mason Hayes & Curran’s head of aviation and international asset finance, commented that the “lack of progress and change is a cause for concern… all the evidence shows that greater diversity at all levels in organisations makes for better decision making and enhanced performance.”

    Whether you are a candidate or client organisation, when you join forces with TARCG, we will assist you in achieving your objectives in this sector, drawing upon our considerable know-how in effective approaches to aviation talent search.