Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Aviation Workforce

Victoire Jarcin by Victoire Jarcin | May 25, 2023

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.

What is DEI?

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.

  • Diversity refers to differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religions, and other factors that make individuals unique.
  • Equity refers to creating a leveled playing field for all employees regardless of their background or identities. This means providing equal opportunities for advancement, access to training, and support for all employees.
  • Inclusion refers to creating an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and supported. This involves actively promoting diversity, equity, and a culture of belonging, where all employees feel they can contribute and be themselves.

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.

Give a fair access to communities

By implementing the concept of DEI, the aviation industry could give access to its workforce to all communities by:

  • Breaking down barriers. The aviation industry can bring down systemic barriers that have historically limited access to certain groups by actively promoting DEI.
  • Addressing unconscious biases. By providing diversity training and raising awareness of biases, the aviation industry can ensure that all employees are treated fairly and given equal opportunities to succeed.
  • Meeting the needs of diverse customers. As the industry serves a diverse range of customers from all around the world, having a workforce that reflects this diversity can help ensure that the needs and expectations of all customers are met.
  • Attracting diverse talent. When the industry and its stakeholders promote DEI, it sends a message to diverse communities that they are valued and welcomed. This can help attract a wider range of talent and ensure that candidates from all backgrounds have access to the aviation industry.

Future generations

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.

Victoire Jarcin

Victoire Jarcin

ACI World Assistant Manager Airport Safety, Security, and Operations
Victoire Jarcin is ACI World's Assistant Manager of Airport Safety, Security, and Operations. A French national, Victoire has recently completed a bachelor’s degree in political science and has briefly worked at ICAO in the field of security and facilitation. She actively contributes to DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) efforts and the future of the workforce in aviation. Additionally, she provides support in various cross-cutting topics within the airport operations sector.
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