Airports Council International (ACI) World emphasized the importance of gender diversity in aviation and attracting a competitive workforce in the face of growing air service demand.
Participating in the Women Taking Flight session at the 2020 Airport Experience Conference in Denver, Colorado, ACI World Director General Angela Gittens highlighted the gender gap that persists in aviation.
“The aviation industry has made slow progress in overcoming a long legacy of gender bias,” Angela Gittens said. “While there are pockets of success in sectors of the aviation industry, the stark fact is that only 3% of CEOs in the aviation industry are women, compared with 6.5% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
“In addition, the aviation industry as whole has a much smaller group of non-CEO female executives ready to move up the ranks.”
With the forecast that air service demand will double by 2037, and reach 19.7 billion by 2040 based on a projected growth rate of 3.7% per annum, the airport industry will require a large, diverse and skilled talent pool from which to draw from.
“ACI, along with others in our aviation industry, understand that we cannot ignore half of the world`s population and expect to fill our workforce demand,” Angela Gittens said.
“We need to work together to promote the multifaceted careers at airports and in aviation. This will require more engagement and education with our communities, including a stronger presence in colleges, universities and career fairs, etc. The city that is the airport requires a range of different professionals and technicians and the airport of tomorrow will require more, and possibly different, disciplines.
“Not only do we need to attract more women into the business, but we also need to support the professional development and generate opportunities for women to get the right jobs and to be considered for promotional openings.”
ACI World is helping to promote gender diversity within the airport industry, not least in North America.
“I am very proud that we have an agreement with the International Aviation Women’s Association to work collaboratively on education, training and job opportunities,” Angela Gittens said. “This includes an annual scholarship for the ACI Airport Executive Leadership Programme (AELP), which prepares students for senior-level responsibilities and provides more opportunities for professional growth in this exciting industry.
“As part of a wider industry effort, ACI, in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Air Transport Association (IATA), participates in the Young Aviation Professionals Programme (YAPP). Over half of the YAPPs have been women since the launch of the programme, many of which have used this initiative as a springboard to further their careers in the aviation field.
“And, we joined with IATA and 6 other stakeholder organizations in the aviation and aerospace industry to conduct a global study, Soaring Through the Glass Ceiling, to identify and promote means by which the aviation and aerospace industry can more effectively recruit and advance women into leadership roles.”
The conference’s Session, which also included panelist Chief Executive Officer of CVG Airport and Chair of ACI-North America Candace McGraw, held an insightful discussion on their personal experiences as women in leadership.