The number of women breaking through to senior roles in the Irish aviation sector is still markedly low, according to the 4th Gender and Diversity in Aviation survey by law firm Mason Hayes & Curran.

The survey found that only 4pc of managers in the sector come from a minority group indicating they are struggling to progress to leadership positions.

The survey found only 28pc of aviators state that their company still has an all-male board.

“The challenge remains to embed a culture of equality and inclusion within organisations so that leadership change or staff turnaround does not cause it to fade away”

71pc of respondents to the Mason Hayes & Curran survey said that over 30pc of the total headcount in their companies is female. However, the percentage of senior positions held by women is still low, with only 16pc of the respondents indicating that over 30pc of the senior roles in their organisations are held by women.

14pc of respondents indicated that they were from a minority group such as an ethnic or religious minority or LGBTQI, which was a slight increase on 2018.

“The aviation industry is very competitive, and business leaders will want to make sure they are reaping the benefits that diversity can bring to their business,” said Christine O’Donovan, head of Aviation and International Asset Finance at Mason Hayes & Curran.

“Looking at the survey results, there has been a slight increase in the number of respondents identifying as being part of a minority group, which is a positive development. However, the percentage of women at senior level is still low. Business leaders need to harness the benefits that bringing people from diverse backgrounds into their organisations can bring, especially considering that employees, particularly graduates, are expectant of a dynamic workplace with lots of opportunities and potential for career advancement.”

A bird never flew on one wing

The survey also highlighted a state of unpreparedness for gender pay gap reporting legislation. Only 14pc of respondents state that their company has already carried out an analysis, and 41pc are unsure if their company has done anything.

In terms of board-level diversity, 28pc of respondents stated that their organisation still has an all-male board, despite the fact that many studies show that board diversity leads to enhanced board effectiveness and enhanced company performance.

“Having a single gender board is fast becoming taboo for boards of companies involved in international business, and such boards will need to put a plan in place to appoint female directors from either within their business or external independent appointees”, O’Donovan continued.

“There are positive indicators of increasing diversity in the survey, which is encouraging to see. Businesses function through human engagement and productivity, and humans are responsible for the pace and speed of change. The challenge remains to embed a culture of equality and inclusion within organisations so that leadership change or staff turnaround does not cause it to fade away. Education and training has an important role to play in achieving better levels of diversity & inclusion, which will ultimately benefit the organisations themselves and the aviation industry as a whole.”

Pictured above: Christine O’Donovan, head of Aviation and International Asset Finance at Mason Hayes & Curran

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 23 January, 2020

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