Working Towards a More Inclusive Future For Aviation
It is a well-known fact that women are hugely underrepresented within aviation. Because of this, we have put a lot of focus on this area over the last few years and are determined to make meaningful change to improve the experience of the women who work at NATS, and to inspire and attract more women into the aviation industry.
Most recently we have welcomed a new Equality Diversity and Inclusion Programme Manager who will be responsible for pulling together all the various avenues of work, ensuring we are all collectively working towards the same goal and that things are always progressing.
We have an emphasis on attracting and recruiting more women, retaining them within our workforce and progressing into the most senior roles within the business. As part of this work, we know we also need to encourage young women to consider roles in STEM (science, technology, maths and engineering).
In 2023, we restarted our Graduate and Apprenticeship Early Careers Scheme after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. As part of our selection process, we committed to hiring 50% women into these roles and, through a concerted effort to adapt our assessment methods, our intake resulted in 58% women; 27% of the intake also being from an ethnic minority background.
We also saw the return of Future Minds in 2023, our annual event that invites young women aged 14-19 into NATS for a day of workshops and talks to explore opportunities in STEM careers.
What Have We Done So Far?
As an organisation we are striving to achieve greater equality and have committed to a number of initiatives over the past few years, including:
- In January of last year (2023), we became a member of Inclusive Companies, in order to access their expertise, consultancy and events, as well as to use their benchmark information, advice and guidance to support our continued progress towards fair and equal recruitment.
- Unconscious bias training has been rolled out across the organisation and is now mandatory for assessors for both our early careers schemes and internal talent assessments. In addition, we have introduced robust scoring methodology to ensure decisions are driven by data and evidence.
- As part of launching our internal menopause policy, one of our own Medical Officers, Dr Sarah Ewer, provided research that has now helped to change the CAA’s aeromedical guidance. The previous guidance enforced a mandatory 14-day unfit period for controllers who were starting treatment which put off a lot of people who wanted to start HRT – this mandatory period has now been removed which will make a huge difference to the lives of people across the industry. We recently launched our new Menopause plan provided by Bupa for all female and transgender employees. The plan offers one to one appointments with menopause trained GPs, who can prescribe HRT if needed, as well as providing other support through a menopause helpline.
Looking to the Future
2024 and beyond will see a continued focus on improving our recruitment by ensuring the fairness of our processes. This has included the launch of a Hiring Manager Toolkit which provides advice and support to ensure a consistent approach to all recruitment. We have introduced redacted CVs to limit bias and will continue the process of educating our managers through unconscious bias and inclusive recruitment training.
It will always be important that we celebrate the actions and commitments we have made as an organisation, but we will also continue to look to the future, building inclusive and inspirational plans while removing barriers to equality.
We are ensuring that we take the right actions and are laying robust foundations that will improve gender equality within NATS. As an organisation we remain committed to doing all we can to accelerate this work within our own business as well as across the wider aviation industry. NATS is one of the signatories to have signed the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter; a Government initiative aimed at increasing gender balance across the industry.
Individuals who bring different perspectives, skills, life experiences and backgrounds help us be at the forefront of our industry. We would like to hear from you whatever your age, sex, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, visible or invisible disability.
In return, we offer top of the range training and development, opportunities for professional qualifications, advanced technologies, a multitude of employee benefits and a friendly, modern working environment; so you can advance your career whilst shaping the future of the aviation industry.
With a wide range of opportunities available in our 2024 Early Careers cohort, the sky’s the limit for your future! Find out more and apply to our Early Careers opportunities here.