The aviation field is ‘relentless and intensive’ but the fourth annual Mason, Hayes & Curran (MH&C) sectoral survey shows that many of its boards remain all-male.
The percentage of women at senior levels in aviation has remained static for the past four years, hovering around 30%.
For female respondents, work-life balance is the biggest challenge in the industry, while for men it is market forces and competition.
Most women surveyed state that their main reason for leaving their current employer would be a lack of opportunity for advancement.
For male respondents, the main reason would be the prospect of improved financial rewards.
All-male boards set the tone, MH&C says, and are a very visible indicator of the commitment of shareholders, senior management and existing directors to support and promote diversity.
In 2018, 36% of respondents stated that the promotion track in their organisation was clear and transparent.
In 2019, 40% of male respondents believe the promotion track within their company is clear compared to 23% of women.
This perhaps points to a need for improved internal communications around advancement and promotion to all staff, particularly to women, says MH&C.
New entrants to the aviation industry now have access to large amounts of publicly available hard data about target employers, MH&C points out, and says that diversity policies must be put into action in a way that tracks progress and measures success.
“If this doesn’t happen, then organisations are in danger of being categorised as ‘DINOsaurs’ – diverse in name only,” MH&C says.
Culture of inclusion
MH&C says that a culture of inclusion is essential to benefit organisations both internally and externally.
This year, 36% of survey respondents were male and questions were answered last summer.
On diversity challenges, one respondent said: “Some jurisdictions do not recognise same-sex relationships and it is preventing same-sex couples from relocating to Asia as they cannot get a dependent visa for the accompanying spouse.”
“Unconscious bias” training and testing is now often included in courses conducted in companies, according to the report.