Are more women applying for jobs in the traditionally male dominated world of aviation?

8th November 2019

October 5th was International Girls in Aviation Day and the recruitment teams at Oaklands Global celebrated with pride as our network of high quality female candidates grows and the country’s most intelligent, ambitious and innovative women break the mould to secure some of the most coveted roles in this traditionally male-dominated realm.

Another aviation business to mark the occasion was Delta Airlines who made headlines when an all-female crew flew 120 girls to NASA. The special flight from Salt Lake City to Houston was a behind-the-scenes lesson on aviation to a group of girls aged between 12 and 18 who were taken to NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in a bid to encourage more women to persevere through the challenges that come with entering an overwhelmingly male-dominated field.

As recruiters in the aviation industry, Oaklands Global consultants have seen a shift in the demographic of applicants over the last decade. Women are making strides in the field and are increasingly interested in applying for jobs in aviation but why has it taken so long for this movement to grow? After all, women have been allowed to vote in the UK for 100 years, so why do relatively few fly? Of course there are female pilots both in the Armed Forces and on commercial and private flights, but we want to see more. Although the global number of women airline pilots is only 3%, some countries are doing better than others. Women flying commercial airlines in India make up 11.6% of all pilots. How can the rest of us work towards achieving equality in the skies?

High profile campaigns for equal pay, diversity at boardroom level and of course the #MeToo movement have all played a part in bringing male domination in various sectors to a timely end. But is the aviation industry keeping pace? As recruiters we are aware that the shortfall of women in the race for top jobs in aviation lies not in their lack of ability but in their lack of opportunity and role models. But happily, change is (finally) afoot.

The American girls on Delta’s flight were students at STEM schools (science, technology, engineering and maths) and their experience of seeing women run all aspects of their flight was truly inspiring. From the pilots to flight crew and from ramp and gate agents on the ground, to women in the control tower, their experience demonstrated that there is not a single job in aviation that cannot be done with equal skill and success by a woman.

It’s taken far too long but we can lament the disappointing delay or we can simply push forwards with all our might to open up this non-traditional industry to women who will challenge stereotypes and make their mark as world class pilots and aviation leaders.

We are here to support them on their journey and we welcome the country’s smartest, brightest and most pioneering girls and women to contact us to find out how they can make inroads into the exciting world of aviation.

by William Finden

About the Author: William Finden is the Founder and MD of Oaklands Global. He is a seasoned executive search and recruitment specialist with over 16 years of experience, dedicated to the international aviation & aerospace markets. William leads Oaklands Global’s C-Suite practice and has had a successful career delivering at the executive level for a diverse portfolio of clientele including Business Jet Operators, OEM’s, MRO’s, FBO’s Airlines and Rotary businesses. To learn more about how William can assist with your next career move or to discuss your next director level hire please contact him by email:

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