While the world is definitely changing, finding a workplace that will allow you to be your authentic self can be difficult. However, many industries are now taking strides to ensure that they create environments that are inclusive and open to all genders and sexualities, and among those industries is the aviation industry.
The aviation industry has historically grappled with the ideas of diversity and inclusion. According to Data USA, 92.3% of aircraft pilots and flight engineers in the U.S. are white, and 93% of them are male. On the executive side, consulting firm Egon Zehnder found that fewer than 5% of CEOs and 13% of top executives in the global airline industry are women. These are dismal statistics when compared to other industries, where the global average may be a little higher.
Diversity is becoming a topic of increasing concern in the aviation industry, and many companies are working to address that. Aviation JobNet highlights the value of a company culture that is both positive and inclusive, underscoring the benefits of such a culture for both a corporation and its employees.
Still, the perennial problem when it comes to inclusion is one that the aviation industry hopes to combat. Efforts are being made in order to make the aviation industry more welcoming to women, non-white, and LGBTQ+ professionals.
Chief among these efforts is the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Women in Aviation – Middle East Chapter, which held its general assembly in Dubai on May 1, 2019. The assembly gathered over 500 men and women from 35 countries to highlight the importance of women’s participation in the aviation industry.
There’s also the international organization the National Gay Pilots Association, helmed by director Dean Sela. Sela is a First Officer who helms Air Canada’s long-range 787 Boeing Dreamliners across the globe, from Munich to Seoul to Copenhagen to Tokyo. His organization is dedicated to building, supporting, and uniting the LGTBQ+ aviation community all over the world. It aims to promote aviation safety, provide a social and professional network for the LGBTQ+ community, use advocacy and outreach to foster equal treatment of the LGBTQ+ aviation community, and encourage LGBTQ+ people to pursue careers in aviation.
Airlines are also doing their part to improve LGBTQ+ inclusion in the aviation industry. United Airlines recently announced that it has achieved a perfect score of 100 on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality administered by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation.
While these may all be baby steps, the important thing is that strides in inclusivity and diversity are being made worldwide. The world of aviation may soon cease to be a straight white male’s club, and we can all hopefully look forward to seeing an industry as open and inclusive as our skies.