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A Discussion Paper on Gender Equality and the Gender Pay Gap in the Workplace Within British Aviation Companies.

A Discussion Paper on Gender Equality and the Gender Pay Gap in the Workplace Within British Aviation Companies.
Author: Katy Little
2 Commentries
Abstract: This paper focuses on the apparent gender pay gap in the current aviation industry and how equal the balance of male and female employees is within different companies. This paper considers the impact of gender imbalance in job roles and the impact it can have upon gender pay gaps. This will all be done through looking at cases of British Aviation Companies.

Key Words:
• Gender Pay Gap
• Equality
• Aviation
• Pilots
• Diversity schemes
• Equal Pay

Gender equality and the gender pay gap are currently very hot topics of conversation in the media, especially with the new government legislation that states large businesses with over 250 employees are having to publish their gender pay gap figures (Jones, 2018). Some aviation companies have been called out within these reports for having high gender pay gaps. Having high figures can generate a lot of negativity for these companies making it important for them to explain to the public the reasoning’s behind why they are so high. This can also be off-putting for current employees or potential employees who may not believe that they will be entitled to equal opportunities upon working for one of these companies where there is apparent inequality.

Gender Equality has long been required within the workplace as it is a key place for promoting gender equality. With the workplace being such a fundamental part of someone’s day to day life, the influence it can have is and will remain to be very high on how people view gender equality. However, one of the main issues within generating gender equality is that in many businesses there is a high gender pay gap. Jones (2018) defines the gender pay gap as being the difference in the percentage of the earnings of men and women. In many cases males are earning more than their female colleagues even if their job requirements are the same.

EasyJet are one of Britain’s most well-known and used airlines and operates as a low cost airline. EasyJet is also one of the aviation companies to have released their gender pay gap report which stated that easyJet’s gender pay gap was very large with males earning on average 45.5% more than their female co-workers per hour (easyJet, 2018). EasyJet have had to address the reasoning’s behind this figure within their report due to the backlash that followed from this publication. EasyJet stated that this figure was so high because of the imbalance between the number of male and female pilots. 94% of easyJet’s pilots are male and pilots are the highest paid members of staff on £92,400 per year (easyJet, 2018).

Other airlines have also defended themselves by stating that their gender pay gaps are because of an imbalance between males and females in higher paid roles. This was reported in both Ryanair and British Airways outlining that there is an industry wide issue with recruitment of women into the higher paid roles. Lancia (2017) believes that one of the main issues surrounding why there are so few female pilots is because this role has become very stereotyped as a male’s job. Lancia (2017) states that because of this, barriers are generated that make it harder for females to excel within these roles.

EasyJet are however working to generate more gender equality within the pilot and managerial roles within the company. As the company have blamed this on their uneven ratio of male to female pilots, the company decided in 2015 to focus on ways to try and bring more female pilots into their business. Other aviation companies including British Airways have also done this in sectors where there is under representation of female workers. EasyJet (2018) have targeted the education system and STEM subjects through delivering talks to young adults from their female pilots to try to encourage more females to consider this as a future career. EasyJet (2018) also markets their pilot jobs using images and stories from female pilots which enables women to envision themselves in this role more than if they saw a male advertised.

This scheme as reported by easyJet (2018) has so far been a success and has seen a 12% increase in female pilots within a year of it starting. The target is for there to be a 20% increase by 2020 which based on current growth seems very attainable. Using this example, it can be seen that there is a chance for positive change to be made in the aviation industry to make it more equal between genders. However, as Lancia (2017) explored this issue it showed that this has been a longstanding issue in this industry and females have long been oppressed in pilot roles. This makes it arguable that more could have been done sooner to combat this issue prior to 2015 when airlines such as easyJet began to tackle this issue.

Reference List:

easyJet (2018). Our people. [online] Corporate.easyjet.com. Available at: http://corporate.easyjet.com/corporate-responsibility/our-people [Accessed 25 Apr. 2018].

Jones, L. (2018). What is the gender pay gap?. [online] BBC News. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42918951 [Accessed 24 Apr. 2018].

Lancia, G 2017, 'We Can and Will Do It!" Female perceptions of pilot as a career', Collegiate Aviation Review, 35, 2, pp. 54-67, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 April 2018.

A Discussion Paper on Gender Equality and the Gender Pay Gap in the Workplace Within British Aviation Companies.
Author: Yi Zhang
I decided to comment on this paper because I am interested on subject of gender equality which is also the topic of my own paper. It has been a hot topic since decades ago and women are actually still fighting for equality in today’s society.

EasyJet argued that the wide gender pay gap was due to the imbalance between the number of male and female pilots. Male pilots make up 94% of all pilots which are the highest paid position in the company. The question for EasyJet is that why has EasyJet hired so many male pilots? On top of that, evidence shows that female pilots are paid less than male pilots in the UK (LaMagna, 2018). Therefore, gender pay gap was not completely due to imbalance between the number of male and female pilots.

I would argue that EasyJet failed to achieve gender equality in higher paid jobs because of glass ceiling effect, which is known as an “invisible barrier” that hinders women to climb to higher levels of the hierarchical structure of an organisation (Connell, 2006). Glass ceiling effect is one of the issues of gender equality. EasyJet should break the glass ceiling so that women can earn more by taking pilot jobs.

The author made interesting discussion about the approaches by EasyJet to increase the proportion of women pilots. Gender equality is one of the ethical issues and Carroll’s (1991) corporate social responsibility pyramid stated that ethics is one of the corporate social responsivities. I would argue that the main reason behind EasyJet’s gender equality approaches is to polish their CSR image after the accusation by media, in order to regain the support from consumers.

In addition, the author discussed that imbalance between the number of male and female pilots has been a longstanding issue and females have been oppressed as pilot roles. EasyJet could have tried to achieve gender equality earlier before the accusation if their organisational culture does really support gender equality. Last but not least, feminist theory is useful to explain the gender equality issues. Liberal feminist believes that gender inequality is due to the domination of institution by men who control economy, politics, judicial system, education and etc. (Gamble, 2006). I also noticed that there are only two out of eight board of EasyJet directors are women. Also, radical feminist argues that gender inequality in society is caused by patriarchy (Gamble, 2006). Patriarchy must be eliminated and rebuilt entirely to achieve gender equality. Therefore, gender equality can only be achieved by changing the culture of the society, especially the mind of people about gender roles. It is a long process and people must be educated about gender equality since they are small.


Carroll, A. B., 1991. The Pyramid of Corporate Social Responsibility: Toward the Moral Management of Oragnizational Stakeholders. Business Horizons, 34(4), pp. 39-48.
Connell, R., 2006. Glass ceilings or gendered institutions? Mapping the gender regimes of public sector worksites. Public Administration Review, 66(6), pp. 837-849.
Gamble, S., 2006. The Routledge Companion to Feminism and Postfeminism. London: Routledge.
LaMagna, M., 2018. Female pilots are a rarity at commercial airlines in the U.S.. [Online]
Available at: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-how-many-female-pilots-there-are-in-the-us-2018-04-18
[Accessed 16 May 2018].

commentary on "A Discussion Paper on Gender Equality and the Gender Pay Gap in the Workplace Within British Aviation Companies".
Author: Courtney Bancrof
I have decided to comment on this chosen paper because it looks into a similar subject as the paper in which I wrote myself. It explores the issues surrounding the gender pay gap and how gender equality is an issue within the tourism industry with a specific look into the aviation industry. Tourism is the second biggest industry in the world and it is an important to look into the equality within this industry.

The author looks into the issues surrounding the gender pay gap and discusses how new government legislations stating that companies with over 250 employees have to publish their gender pay figures. This has caused an issue within the industry and caused a lot of companies to be called out, it also caused a lot off companies to get court out and have a negative back lash on them with current employees and future employees not wanting to work for that company as they feel that they have not got a right for equal pay or opportunities for promotion.

This leads on to the issues surrounding TUI where men are paid nearly twice as much as women in there employment which leads to women within the company and industry feeling demotivated and with no worth or opportunity for promotions. This is shown by a low representation of women in higher paid jobs (travelweekly.com, 2018).

The author explores the gender pay gap and equality of EasyJet in depth and how EasyJet is one company that is trying to increase the amount of women in higher paid roles such as pilots. Though by further research it is clear that this is not all true. I would argue that EasyJet is not so much in the way succeeding when it comes to ensuring women have an equal chance at highly paid jobs for any company to succeed at this it would take a lot of work to do so. For women there are many barriers that stop them from climbing the employment ladder and this again is why I feel that EasyJet have it harder than they think (Epitropaki,2018).

The author goes on to discuss the imbalance of male and female pilots in the industry which was an interesting point which I also explored and discussed throughout my own discussion paper. EasyJet has tried for a long time to create equality throughout its company but like all companies it is hard to achieve such equality so quickly and male employees are favoured over female for manager roles leaving female employees with jobs which have been feminised such as air hostesses. These days here are a lot more feminised roles which lead to discrimination throughout the industry.


Davies, P. (2018). Tui reveals significant gender pay gap. [online] Travel Weekly. Available at:http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/297996/tui-reveals-significant-gender-pay-gap [Accessed 17 May 2018].

Epitropaki, O. (2018). ALBA Graduate Business School | ALBA. [online] Alba.acg.edu. Available at: http://www.alba.acg.edu/ [Accessed 17 May 2018].