Diversity Report Card: How Do Airline Leadership Teams Stack Up?

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What do the executive leadership teams at U.S. airlines have in common? Lots of white men.

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In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the sustained national protests over racial inequality, virtually every airline has crafted a news release that professes solidarity with protesters and includes a promise to do better on issues of inclusion.
Yet only three airlines cracked into the top 100 of Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Diversity for 2020. Southwest Airlines ranked 74, with JetBlue Airways just behind at 76. Delta Air Lines came in at 96, which was well ahead of Alaska Airlines’s 285th place. American Airlines ranked a dismal 478. United Airlines did not even make the list, nor did low-cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air.
Leadership vs. Lip Service
In any case, hiring a diverse workforce isn’t the same as fostering a culture where diversity moves up the company ladder. Some airlines have a Chief Diversity Officer, but they rarely hold a position on the executive leadership team.

Take a look at the executive leadership team and board of directors of any U.S. airlines and you’ll see a lot of white men and disproportionately few people of color. Lest you …

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