In recent years, the aviation industry has been facing a new significant capacity challenge: workforce availability. This is not related to infrastructure or systems restrictions as it previously did. According to the latest ACI World Airport Traffic Forecasts, 2019 (pre-pandemic) global passenger volumes are expected to to double by 2039 to 18.3 billion. The availability of a strong and diverse workforce to accommodate this future demand is of utmost importance. The significant restrictions experienced on resource availability could have negative impacts on service quality, operational performance, and the overall aviation system’s capacity to meet expected growth profiles.
Considering that the aviation industry is an engine of social and economic growth for local communities and regions, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is particularly important given the critical role that airports play in facilitating global travel and commerce. It is crucial that the airport workforce reflects the diverse communities they serve to ensure that all passengers and stakeholders feel welcome, safe, and valued.
In the aviation workforce, DEI refers to the commitment to create an inclusive and equitable work environment that promotes diversity, respects individual differences, and values all contributions regardless background. The aviation industry encompasses a wide range of jobs and roles, from pilots and air traffic controllers to airport staff and maintenance crew and they all play an important role in ensuring that the entire aviation ecosystem functions sustainably.
By prioritizing DEI during recruitment, training, and promotion practices, the aviation industry can benefit from different perspectives and experiences in leadership, which can lead to more innovative solutions, decision-making, and a stronger competitive advantage.
By implementing the concept of DEI, the aviation industry could give access to its workforce to all communities by:
As workforce requirements and expectations continue to evolve due to an accelerated rate of innovation, the introduction of new technologies and automation constitute new challenges faced by the industry.
Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012) will represent one-third of the workforce by 2030 and has grown in a world where diversity, equity and inclusion have become increasingly important issues. They are more likely to seek out employers and organizations that prioritize DEI and are less likely to tolerate environments that are not inclusive and welcoming. Gen Z will embrace different cultures, background, and identities and support policies and initiatives that promote equity and address systemic inequalities. They will advocate for policy change and will take action to support causes related to DEI. This generation also values organizations that promote innovation, personal growth trajectories, and sustainability with a conscious approach to environmental protection. Promoting these core values through the industry should be prioritized to help with the recruitment of this generation for the future of the workforce.