Mason Hayes & Curran survey finds gender imbalance in aviation industry

Christine O'Donovan

Christine O’Donovan

A new survey by Mason Hayes & Curran has concluded Ireland’s aviation industry needs to assign higher priority to gender and diversity.

The aviation industry contributes more than €4 billion per year to the Irish economy and employs roughly 40,000 people. Almost half of the world’s leased commercial aircraft are managed from Ireland.

However, the law firm’s survey has found that women are seriously underrepresented at senior levels in aviation businesses.

Nearly half of respondents said 10 per cent or less of c-suite or board level positions in their company are filled by women, and women make up less than 10 per cent of new hires at senior level. The majority (63 per cent) said their firm did not have a gender and diversity committee.

Over a quarter of respondents identified work-life balance as the biggest challenge to career progression, and 58 per cent said there was no clear path to promotion in their company. Over a third said a lack of opportunity was a big driver in changing employers.

Christine O’Donovan, aviation specialist and partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “At a time when the political and media focus on gender and diversity has never been stronger, we’ve taken a look at practices in Ireland’s important aviation sector.

“This is particularly timely as, in August new EU regulations on the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information for certain large companies came into effect. These companies are now required to produce an annual non-financial statement and a diversity report.”

Ms O’Donovan continued: “Looking at the survey results, it would appear that, for some organisations in the aviation industry, further work should be carried out to ensure that diversity is given the priority it deserves in company policies.

“The challenge is not simply to embrace diversity but to foster and encourage diversity. Current and future workers should also have access to appropriate level of support and training to assist in making and responding to career choices and life choices.”

“Creating a more inclusive workplace for all will benefit those currently in the industry and those considering entering it, whether men, women, intersex or transgender. We must all support our colleagues and workers in the paths they may choose if we are to achieve greater level of equality in representation and sustainable careers in aviation.”