8th March 2022
Happy International Women’s Day from the Conduce team! Not only is it IWD, it’s also National Careers Week, and with those two things in mind, we wanted to share with you some pearls of wisdom from the amazing team here at Conduce.
The theme of this years IWD is break the bias, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do when it comes to working in aviation.
Aviation has long been known as a male biased industry. We know the statistics speak for themselves (e.g. in the UK, women make up just 13.3% of all engineers, out of 6.1m engineering jobs and just 5% of airline pilots are women, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISWAP)). But even without hard numbers to back it up, all you really need to do is scroll through the list of speakers at major events such as the Dubai Air Show 2021 to see mostly white, older, male faces.
But the industry is changing. In fact, at the last show Conduce attended (MRO ME in Dubai in February 2022) our stand was solely staffed by women and we were really encouraged by the diverse and fascinating industry women we chatted to over the few days. We are also constantly inspired with the long list of fantastic women we work closely with, who are all doing jobs that might not be as obvious as pilot or engineer, but are nonetheless vital for keeping aeroplanes in the sky.
So I’ve asked the female led Project Management team here at Conduce to answer a couple of questions and give some advice to any young women thinking about a career in aviation. Come and join the fun! And if you’re a woman in aviation please do add your own advice in the comments!
- What is your job?
Vera: I am a senior project manager at Conduce, and together with the fellow project managers and other teams of Conduce, I help our customers to implement eTechLog8, the ELB solution as the primary technical log system. We introduce the solution, configure it, integrate it, get it approved, support it. We build and maintain the long-term relationship with the customer airlines/operators, enabling them to capture the crucial data about the technical status of the fleet and process it afterwards for better control, and a pro-active approach to aircraft maintenance.
Mariana: I am a project manager at Conduce. My main goal is to help the customers implement the eTechLog8 solution as the legal and official aircraft technical logbook and do it efficiently and successfully. The implementation is an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the customers, build trust, and learn to communicate with them in a smooth and friendly yet practical and direct way.
Hayley: I am a project manager like the ladies above, but I am also the Conduce Marketing Manager so I’m involved in sales, and I help out in our workshop building ETL kit as well. This means my days can be quite busy, but there’s always a new challenge to solve and it never gets boring! I ensure all the hard work done by my colleagues in the rest of the business are seen by potential customers; there’s no point having the best Tech Log solution in the world if you don’t tell anyone about it. I also love being hands-on in the workshop, it’s often the best way to clear your mind and solve a problem from one of my other jobs.
- What do you like most about working in the aviation industry?
Vera: When I was looking for my first permanent job back in 2010, I can say that partially I wanted to follow my father’s steps (who was an aircraft maintenance engineer) and partially I was looking for something grandiose and fascinating to become part of. A flying aircraft is the manifestation of the scientific progress and the revolutionary break-through achieved by human mind, I am reminded of this every day!
Mariana: It is very evident the level of interconnection of our world. From the most literal point of view, the ability to fly allows us to shorten distances and times. From a more subtle perspective, in this industry, there is a place where you could fit no matter your background. Other industries limit the education and experience you should have to be part of it. Here, diversity and inclusiveness are impressive! As an example, I have a solid legal background. Still, my colleagues are software engineers, our CEO is an aircraft engineer, even the other project managers have studied Classics and environmental sciences, and yet we manage to be connected and synchronised.
Hayley: I love to travel and like Vera, my Dad was in aviation so I grew up around planes. With Conduce I get to travel all over the world meeting incredibly diverse people and exploring new places, and most of all, I know that I’m doing something that genuinely adds value to all the customers I work with, improving their operations and helping to make the industry more sustainable. All that paper we’re replacing really adds up!
- What advice would you give any young women thinking about joining aviation?
Vera: Over the last ten years there has not been a single day when I have not felt appreciated, valued or in any doubt if joining the aviation community was the best decision. If anything, it is aviation that has the most diverse opportunities and requires all sorts of hard and soft skills that can be applied in myriads of jobs and activities. The industry is global and very welcoming, it has realised before many others that there is no place for inequalities or stereotypes when safety of flying is concerned. Having had the opportunity to meet women engineers, auditors, managers, flight crews, cabin crews etc. all over the world, every single one of them is proud to be in aviation and is devoted to the job they are doing. And it is truly inspiring seeing more and more ladies doing jobs that used to be considered as not suitable for women. For all the young girls considering joining aviation – the sky is the limit!
Mariana: It is widely known that this is an industry historically dominated by men. To me, I have come to realise that one of the most powerful tools I have is my presence in the industry. The world is moving towards a more equal and inclusive place, but the symbols and spaces are essential until we get there. In this view, (just) having this role and working in aviation represent and say brave things about who I am. For example, that I have not accepted the pledge that this is only a men-dominated industry, that there is a space for me, that the status quo can change, that I being a woman is an advantage to stand out and change the traditional narrative.
Hayley: My advice is twofold: first explore more options beyond Engineer, Pilot and Flight Attendant. One of the hardest things I found at school was being asked what I wanted to do when I didn’t know anything about 99% of the jobs in the world! There are hundreds of challenging and rewarding roles within an airline or the wider aviation industry. Secondly, even if you don’t think you can join the industry because you don’t have a technical background, there are lots of key skills that transfer across really well. For example, my university drama society years have proved invaluable when doing sales demos, my marketing skills were born out of making theatre posters and short films, and project management turned out to be a lot like producing a theatre show – but with planes not actors! So don’t doubt that you have the skills to succeed in aviation even if you don’t realise it.
Do you have advice you want to share for #InternationalWomensDay and #NationalCareersWeek? Help us #BreakTheBias around a career in aviation as a woman and share your advice!