The National Academies

ACRP 06-09 [Active]

Equitable Workforce Outcomes: A Study of Women and Minority Representation at Airports

  Project Data
Funds: $799,972
Staff Responsibility: Joseph D. Navarrete
Research Agency: Airport Minority Advisory Council
Principal Investigator: Jeanette Saunders
Effective Date: 7/20/2023
Completion Date: 1/19/2025


ACRP’s recent Insight Event on Systemic Inequalities in the Airport Industry highlighted that, while many U.S. airports are striving to address diversity, equity, and inclusion, there remain considerable challenges. One key challenge is the lack of robust data. For example, analysis of demographic information (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, career stage) of U.S. airport employees would provide valuable insight into women and minority participation in different airport occupations. The data could be used to highlight the areas of greatest concern and as benchmarks that could allow the industry to measure its progress over time.

Airports also would benefit from resources and tools that would help them address challenges such as recruitment, retention, promotion, and wage disparities for women and minorities. Some airports have had success implementing initiatives that aim to support their employees and close the gender and racial wage gaps in their organizations. A better understanding of those initiatives could motivate other airports to take similar steps.


The objectives of this research are: (1) to identify and evaluate the current state of women and minority representation among direct employees of U.S. airports, and (2) to use the information collected to develop resources and tools to address potential issues identified including, but not limited to, recruitment, retention, promotion, and wage disparity. At a minimum the research should produce the following:  

  • Report on the current state of women and minority representation among direct employees of U.S. airports. The status report should be based on a representative sample of U.S. airports. The report should include statistical analysis of data collected related to, and qualitative exploration of, at least the following topics:
    • Representation in leadership positions;
    • Demographic data on employees;
    • Wage disparities;
    • Representation across career tracks;
    • Training and education of current employees;
    • Access and availability of professional development;
    • Opportunities for advancement; and
    • Targeted current recruitment and retention strategies.
  • Recommendations for improving the future collection, reporting, and analyzing of data on women and minority employment, including limitations and advantages for understanding equity in the workforce. The recommendations should also consider means of collecting, reporting, and analyzing data for other on-site employees not directly employed by the airport;
  • Resources and tools to help airports track and monitor workforce equity;
  • Resources and tools to increase the share of women and minority airport employees, advance their careers, and reduce wage disparity;
  • Case study examples of best practices and lessons learned; and
  • Executive summary.

STATUS: Research is underway.

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