easyJet, whose CEO is a woman, has promised to back entrant level pilots who are female. When was the last time you jetted off to your timeshare resort and happened to notice a female pilot in the cockpit?
As in many other industries, women are still in the minority but easyJet is planning to up the ante and address the imbalance by encouraging more women to train as pilots.
The airline revealed its plans to recruit more women as pilots as part of a new strategy to encourage the development of its female pilots at all ranks and positions, as well as helping to boost the number of women who enter the pilot community overall.
Currently, just over 5% of easyJet’s 2,500 pilots are female, a figure in line with the industry as a whole. However, women make up 6% of easyJet’s new pilot intake.
The airline plans to double the proportion of female new entrants to 12% in the next two years.
As part of the programme, easyJet (whose CEO Carolyn McCall has taken the company from strength to strength recently) will also look to appeal to women interested in becoming a pilot by talking to school groups and other youth organisations, and working alongside companies that promote female take-up of STEM (science, engineering, technology and maths) subjects.
The airline also revealed that it will offer ten places for women each year on the easyJet pilot training programme, with the £100,000 training loan underwritten by easyJet.
easyJet also pledged to support, develop and retain female pilots, so that more of them can go on to achieve captaincy and pilot management roles.
Brian Tyrrell, head of flight operations at easyJet, said:
“At easyJet we value diversity and we believe that having a workforce which better reflects our customers will help support our future success.
“We have made sustained progress in our senior management and M&A (management and administration) communities in recent years but we recognise that the proportion of our pilots who are female is too low, as it is across the industry as a whole.
“A career as a pilot is interesting and rewarding and we want more women to bring their skills to the role.
“Our initial focus will be to increase the pipeline of female pilots, including by talking to young women who may not have considered it as a career.
“This is a long term strategy, which we hope will eventually lead to easyJet recruiting, retaining and developing many more female pilots.”
Pauline Vahey, chair of the British Women Pilots Association, welcomed the news, adding: “The British Women Pilots’ Association (BWPA) is delighted to partner with easyJet in this ground-breaking initiative. It aligns perfectly with the first aim of the BWPA to actively promote and encourage women into flying careers in the aviation industry.
“This initiative demonstrates that easyJet is a pioneer in the industry, not unlike the early women pioneers in aviation who founded the BWPA sixty years ago this year.
“We believe it will not only benefit easyJet and the women who participate but also the industry in general.”