We are delighted to release the results of our annual Gender & Diversity in Aviation Survey. This is the third year of the survey, and the 2018 results have revealed an industry where female employees still struggle to progress to senior leadership positions.
More than half of the respondents to the Mason Hayes & Curran survey said that over 30% of the total headcount in their companies is female. However, the percentage of senior positions held by women is still low, with only 16% of the respondents indicating that there are over 30% of senior roles held by women in their organisations.
“While the period under review, at 3 years, is relatively short, the lack of progress and change is a cause for concern particularly given the continuing spotlight on the issue of gender and diversity in our community”, said Christine O’Donovan, Head of Aviation and International Asset Finance at Mason Hayes & Curran. “All the evidence shows that greater diversity at all levels in organisations makes for better decision making and enhanced performance. Creating a more inclusive workplace for all will benefit everyone currently in the industry and those considering entering this industry – men, women and intersex.”
The survey results also suggest that the employment profile of the aviation industry in Ireland is very homogeneous. Only 6% of respondents said they were from a minority or disadvantaged background with just 5% saying their manager is a member of a minority group.
Many organisations in Ireland are beginning to address diversity issues by setting up diversity committees and introducing policies to monitor the level of diversity amongst staff and new recruits, but only 18% of participants reported that their organisation has such a committee. On the other hand, just under 50% of the respondents believed there would be a benefit from such a committee. “This perhaps indicates a need for organisations to better communicate and explain the benefits of diversity to the whole workforce, the role and purpose of having a committee and supporting policies and using these tools to enhance the overall financial and organisational performance”, said Christine.
On a more positive note, just 12% of respondents saw gender or diversity bias as a challenge to career progression in their organisation. In fact, the most cited challenge was work/life balance with 32% of participants mentioning this as a factor that concerns them, which is consistent with the level of personal commitment and sacrifice expected from those working in the sector to reach the highest echelons.
Another positive finding related to the number of diversity candidates hired in the last 12 months. Almost one third (32%) reported that the number of diversity candidates hired at entry level was more than 30%.
“The survey does give some positive indicators of increasing diversity, including the increased number of diversity candidates being hired at entry levels", said Christine. "For the future, industry participants and their supporting partners in professional services firms will have to continue to support all colleagues and workers in the paths they choose to achieve a greater level of equality in representation and more sustainable careers in aviation. The ultimate beneficiary of this will be the organisations themselves and the aviation industry sector, giving it greater access to a wider pool of talent and enhanced productivity. Collectively this will contribute to the overall competitiveness and success of our aviation sector and the wider economy."