Airlines worldwide are working to correct a gender imbalance within their executive ranks, and Air Canada, one of the biggest proponents for gender equality, surprisingly, the airline’s head of maintenance.
“Our head of maintenance is actually the biggest champion we have, he is actually the one that created within Air Canada a forum for young women to come to see what it is like to [work] in a maintenance environment at an airline,” Air Canada CCO Lucie Guillemette explained at the recent CAPA Canada Aviation Summit in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Due to the success of those forums, it has been replicated in other areas of the business, she added.
Ms Guillemette stated that if stakeholders “genuinely want to see more women come into the airline industry”, investments need to be made to recruit younger workers.
Most of the success for Air Canada in expanding female representation in its workforce is from different business units doing a lot of work at the grassroots level, said Ms Guillemette. “Several departments have created forums where women in their respective area of the business meet together and look for opportunities to see how Air Canada can help and support career growth”, she said.
Air Canada should be recognised as the only North American airline with a female chief commercial officer, however; the company does not believe in setting quotas for female representation.
Ms Guillemette, said the company had targets to measure the progress it makes in gender equality in the next year or two, but “we don’t aim and say we need to reach this number by this time and force ourselves to hire the wrong talent. I am sure I speak for all the women in the room…nobody wants to be in a position if they don’t feel like they’re qualified to do it”.