Industry Insights

Girl playing with a toy airplane against a blue sky

The Women in the Aviation Industry initiative has been informed by specific sector research and findings from other studies into women's participation in the workforce.

Workplace Gender Equality Agency data

Data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows that in 2022–23 women's representation varied within the Air and Space Transport sector, with women making up:

  • 4% amongst technicians and trade workers
  • 36% of air traffic professionals (including pilots and air traffic controllers), roles which have traditionally been dominated by men
  • 20% of key management personnel
  • 12% of CEOs, and
  • 18% of board members.

This gender segregation and low representation of women in these typically high-paying roles results in an average total remuneration gender pay gap of 39.2%.

Research into barriers to the pipeline

The Women in the Aviation Industry initiative funded the Barriers to the Pipeline Research Project to help us better understand the landscape for women in the aviation, aerospace and space industries. The research was conducted by Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia in collaboration with Monash University, RMIT University and UNSW. Findings of the research and a full report is available here.

STEM helps drives the aviation industry

The Department of Industry, Science and Resources 2019-20 Youth in STEM survey found that on average 45.5% of girls lack confidence in the study areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and only 5% of girls aspire to have a STEM career. Targeted programs like the Women in the Aviation Industry initiative will help address this, particularly for roles like engineers, technical experts and aerospace specialists. For example, 1% increase in women choosing a STEM-related career could result in a $50 billion boost to the Australian economy. The Australian Government's strategy for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) aims to increase gender equity. STEM opens door to a wide range of exciting and challenging career options for women in aviation and aerospace.

Addressing the ageing aviation workforce

According to the National Skills Commission's June 2021 Skills Priority List there is likely to soon be a shortage of qualified aircraft maintenance engineers (AME). This is partly due to an ageing workforce, as outlined in the Department Employment and Workplace Relations Aircraft Maintenance Engineers job outlook, which found over 37% of AMEs were aged 45 and above in 2016. One of the key ways to address this skill shortage is to encourage more women to consider an engineering career in the aviation and aerospace industry.

The importance of gender equality

KPMG predicts that if Australia's workforce gender participation gap was halved, our annual GDP would increase by $60 billion over the next 20 years. Gender equality is critical for economic growth and workforce capabilities, particularly in a high performing, globally competitive sector like aviation and aerospace. Diversity is widely recognised as a key to success, bringing with it new perspectives, approaches and ideas.

Barriers for women in the transport sector

Research commissioned by the Department in partnership with Deakin University and iMove seeks to identify the barriers between women entering and progressing within the transport sector, by considering factors influencing decision making and career outcomes at various stages in women's career lifecycles. The research has undertaken a stocktake of 53 initiatives (Government and industry) that supports women in the transport sector, including the Women in the Aviation Industry Initiative, which included a gap analysis and case studies for exemplary programs. Findings of the research and a full report is available at The barriers to women entering and progressing in transport roles.