Iata has announced a new diversity survey to help the aviation industry with its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I), as it is now an integral part of sustainability and a force for positive change.
“People are at the heart of aviation, and getting the right people with the right skills is key to the industry’s sustainability. DE&I is essential for innovation, new technology implementation, and thinking outside the box,” says Jane Hoskisson, Iata’s Director, Talent, Learning, Engagement and Diversity.
Iata also wants to push the industry forward through its 25by2025 programme, which aims to increase the number of women in senior positions and under-represented areas to 25%, or up to a minimum of 25% by 2025.
When the programme launched in 2019, there were just six female CEOs. There are now 25 and the number peaked at 28. Airline signatories to the programme that are reporting its diversity figures show that, on average, there is 28% female representation at senior management level.
“We have opened the door, but now we need to shift up a gear, look at the full spectrum of diversity, and understand exactly where we need to focus our efforts to ensure airlines have a truly diverse and sustainable future,” says Hoskisson.
Iata’s diversity survey aims to inform the industry’s future direction. It will establish where aviation is doing well – perhaps revealing correlation with certain levers that can be replicated – and where it could do better.
“We are launching the survey because we want to encourage deeper thinking about diversity strategy and what airlines should be achieving. The right governance, support, and culture must be built into an organisation for it to be representative,” says Hoskisson.
Being a representative organisation will be different for every airline. But the survey, which follows on from a best practice guide, will help an airline to better understand whether their workforce is multi-generational, gender balanced, and represents the environments in which it operates.
“The survey is not about setting hard targets for the future, but maintaining the direction of travel. All airlines need a degree of flexibility. Some airlines are committing to ‘not less than 40% females,’ which provides a more balanced perspective. There must be a balance because an airline’s workforce should mirror the ethnicity of the countries in which it operates,” says Hoskisson.
Most importantly, the survey will provide airlines with one of the three pillars that Hoskisson deems essential to DE&I success.
Airlines must have structured internal data. Only by correctly measuring the existing situation can they determine a holistic DE&I strategy that addresses the correct areas.
Airlines should also look to their senior management. Authentic leadership commitment to diversity is essential. This will ensure the organisation is engaged in the topic and sees through any fundamental changes in approach.
The final pillar is prioritisation. The steps toward DE&I and a sustainable future should be incremental and achievable. A solid foundation is more important than untenable goals.
“The survey will help us refine best practice in this area and to understand what we need to address at the industry level. But it will also provide every airline that completes the survey with the data it needs to make meaningful change in this area. DE&I is integral to the industry’s sustainability,” concludes Hoskisson.
To take part in the survey or for further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.