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  • Writer's pictureHera Aviation Group

We Don't Measure What We Don't Value

Updated: Jan 23, 2021


1. The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something-

2. A person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life.

It’s a pretty powerful word and is the genesis of global economies. Value is how we quantify input.

But how do we prove it? Many say data. Awesome! That's easy.

When I started this journey of Hera Aviation Group, I had no idea that I would be having so many conversations with trailblazers around this word. I’d be defending the ethos that caregivers belong in the workplace and how we can empower our leadership to cultivate a cultural change by enacting transformational strategies.

I did not imagine I’d be discussing novel workforce initiatives, strategic implementations, data collection, moral imperatives, and key performance indicators while finding so many ways to prove Hera’s thesis – Caregivers belong.

I’ll be honest. It’s a lot of work to move the chains on paradigm shifts. I’m happy to do it. I’ll talk to you all day about full-time equivalents and workforce retention. But that can make your eyes get sleepy.

Instead, I’ll keep it simple: We don’t measure what we don’t value.

Aviation should reflect the population it serves and half of those identify as female and are incredibly diverse. But, as you know, it does not. There have been studies to define the issue - there’s data on that. But for those that necessitate science partnered with "because it's the right thing to do" when solving the problem, it becomes a much larger concern to qualify.

There is a paucity of data surrounding women, minorities, and primary caregivers in aviation. We have yet to ascertain how impactful this data will be for our industry. And why? Because the collective “we” have not found it necessary to measure.

I could not tell you how many primary caregivers there are in our industry. How many of you are pilots? How many have taken time off from their careers to raise a family or care for a family member? There is absolutely no reliable evidence.

So, Hera Aviation Group dedicated itself to sourcing scientific and reliable data. This is an ongoing exploration. However, initial research is staggering. Amongst other collection points found on our Research page, the most significant disparity we ascertained was the 50 percent decrease in Commercial pilot certificates held by women by age. (This includes an active medical)

From 25-29 through 35-39, the child-rearing years, the number of active female aviators profoundly decreased.

We have a retention issue.

Once we decide that the inclusion of all is an imperative, we will start to look at the Why’s and the How’s. It will become best practice for organizations to not only employee caregivers but also happily offer flexible work to all those requiring support.

This I know to be true.

Until then, I’m going to keep speaking up about the value of including caregivers.

What are the gaps that you see in your career as a caregiver in aviation?

By the Numbers -

From the study “Women in Aviation: A Workforce Report” by Rebecca Lutte (2019)

  • The percentage of women in aviation has not changed more than 2 percent since 1920 – Cited: FAA database.

  • "Currently, there is insufficient data on the number of women in the aviation workforce. At a time when the industry is facing unprecedented shortages of qualified personnel, understanding these key gaps in the workforce can lead to strategies to not only expand the workforce but also enhance diversity."

Lutte, Rebecca. (2019). Women in Aviation: A Workforce Report. 10.13140/RG.2.2.33661.61929.

Aviation as it stands today:

  • Student pilots: 14.5% identify as female

  • As technical qualifications increase: 5% identify as female

  • Executive-level positions: 3% of CEOs and COOs and 8% of CFOs in the top 100 airlines identify as female

  • Airline pilots & Captains: 5% of US airline pilots and 1% of airline captains identify as female

Cited: FAA database raw data. Hera extrapolated data from direct numbers.

Women in the Workplace: What we know

  • 86% of working mothers will leave a job for an opportunity that better supports their work and life considerations

  • 75% of women surveyed believe employer support of work-life flexibility is the most critical for feeling respected at work

  • 43% of highly skilled women leave the workforce after becoming mothers

  • 865,000 women left the workforce in 2020

Cited: Women in Workplace report 2020: McKinsey & Company


Jessica Webster

Founder & President

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