Women and other minority identity groups remain underrepresented in the uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) and advanced air mobility industry, particularly in leadership positions, according to research from a triad of women-owned businesses.

Women And Drones, P3 Tech Consulting and the Diversity Development Network of Canada (DDNC) collected the data through the Women and Drones – DDNC – P3 Tech 2021 UAS/AAM Industry DEI Survey, which was conducted last year between August 6th and September 17th.

When asked ‘Please indicate the percentage ranges of leadership positions among the following diverse groups you employ in your UAS/AAM or UAS/AAM-related Business or Organisation’, the following results were noted:

  • The highest rankings of diverse groups of leadership positions representing under 20 per cent of senior management positions within respondent organisations were the Asian Racial Category at 57.53 per cent followed by Native American or Alaska Native Racial Category at 56.8 per cent and Black or African Racial Category at 55.88 per cent
  • The highest rankings of diverse groups of leadership positions representing 21 per cent to 50 per cent of senior management positions within respondent organisations were the Female Gender at 31.51 per cent followed by Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish Origin Ethnic at 31.38 per cent and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 29.72 per cent
  • The highest rankings of diverse groups of leadership positions representing 71 per cent to 85 per cent of senior management positions within respondent organisations were the White Racial Category at 9.98% followed by LBTGQ Community at 8.37 per cent and Female Gender at 8.23 per cent

Meanwhile, almost 75 per cent of respondents said they also felt moderate to extreme concern about the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the UAS/AAM industry in general. 

More than 80 per cent of respondents expressed concern, ranging from moderate to extreme, about the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their own UAS/AAM or UAS/AAM-related Business or Organisation. 

A slightly higher percentage (81 per cent) expressed moderate to extreme interest in increasing DEI in their companies.

Rounding out the top ten industry takeaways from the survey, respondents also expressed believes that DEI is important to the success of UAS/AAM and UAS/AAM-related businesses, that a lack of DEI would result in financial impacts to businesses and that it is important for the industry to understand the value DEI brings to the table.

The data also indicated that the industry, as represented by respondents, desires effective DEI programs across a broad range of topics, skills, and human-relations type initiatives. 

Almost all respondents expressed interest in participating in an UAS/AAM Advisory Committee to provide industry input towards DEI, skills & competencies development, programming and training to ensure Industry relevance.

The Women and Drones – DDNC – P3 Tech 2021 UAS/AAM Industry DEI Survey was conducted as a self-selecting survey tool targeting a variety UAS and AAM businesses and sectors across the U.S.  Approximately 1,082 individuals responded to the survey during the six-week period it was open. 

The Vertical Flight Society (VFS), the world’s only international technical society for engineers, scientists and others working to advance vertical flight technology, as part of a larger educational partnership with Women And Drones, sponsored more than twenty $50 gift cards, in support of a random draw made for every 50 responses received upon survey completion. 

A summary of the survey findings can be accessed by downloading the complimentary report here.

Additional data and findings from the survey will be released in a 100 plus page market report which will be available for purchase soon in the coming weeks, through the Women And Drones website.