Delta Reports Increased Diversity

A more inclusive aviation sector is happening slowly but surely as Delta‘s diversity reports show an increase in ethnic diversity throughout the company. The airline aims to ensure more women, Black people and those from under-represented ethnic groups are being hired in roles spanning across the company.

Delta aircraft on a runway from a partial bird's eye view.
Delta’s annual diversity reports show an increase in women, black staff and staff of colour| © Chris Sweigart via Delta

A positive future ahead as Delta’s diversity report shows an increase in underrepresented groups

In alliance with the company’s ‘Close the Gap’ initiative, this year has seen a growth in ethnic representation within Delta’s workforce. A total of 27% people working under Delta identify as black, 22% identify as an underrepresented racial and ethnic group (UREG)* and 42% identified as women. The former two groups have seen a significant improvement in those hired compared to last year (2021 saw 21% identifying as black and 19% from UREG), whereas women saw a 0.46% decrease in their numbers.

This is the second annual report dedicated to measuring the diversity among those working for Delta. In 2020, CEO Ed Bastian shared a public memo to employees speaking on the global outcry from the Black Lives Matter movement and where Delta could improve in its own contributions to the communities affected. From this memo came the goal of doubling the amount of black staff hired as Officers and Directors, as well as Board of Directors, by 2025.

Keyra Lynn Johnson, Vice President of Delta and Chief Officer of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, spoke on the company’s growth in the past year regarding Delta’s diversity reports. She comments:

“The deliberate steps we’ve taken, like introducing a skills-first hiring approach, reinforcing the importance of diverse hiring panels and creating apprenticeship opportunities, are components that continue delivering results. We know that the path to a more equitable business is a journey, but years later, these results are showing us we are moving in the right direction.”

The memo details the steps the airline is committed to accomplishing, such as redesigning the talent strategy and doubling its spending on black-owned businesses. CEO Bastian stresses the importance of everyone not only becoming more conscious of the needs of oppressed communities but also being involved in making these changes happen (here he quotes Rep. John Lewis, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”).

A line of people of different ethnicities to illustrate Delta reports.
The increase in ethnic representation falls in line with Delta’s 2020 initiative to hire more underrepresented groups | © Delta

Delta’s diversity report shows a decrease in underrepresented groups in senior roles

An area Delta has pointed out in their report is their gap in senior management, which saw an increase for women hired (29% to 34% within the year’s first quarter). However, black staff and those in UREG saw a decrease in staff at a senior level. With black staff, both the managing director level and vice president level saw a decline from 7% (the former to 6%, the latter to 5%); and UREG saw a similar decline in both levels from 18% to 16% in MD and 16% to 15% in VP.

The diversity within Delta seems to show a steady improvement. By rebuilding its previous hiring structures and implementing more opportunities for those underrepresented to gain fair access to senior roles, the airline continues to hold itself accountable to the statement it made two years ago. Although this is a promising outcome, Delta has identified that there is still a long way to go as these changes do not happen overnight.

Ed Bastian’s full memo detailing Delta’s strive to better racial and ethnic representation can be viewed here.

What are your thoughts on Delta’s diversity reports? Let us know in the comments below!

*Underrepresented racial and ethnic groups include: Asian, Latin/Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Two or More races/ethnicities.

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Kirsty Atek
Kirsty Atek
Kirsty Atek is a visual artist based in London who is interested in sustainability.

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