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In 2023, we focused on updating our policies and processes to shape a more inclusive and equitable workplace. This included launching our new strategy ‘Inclusion starts with I’ to set out our focus areas, targets and key initiatives. We also rolled-out a new company-wide e-learning package to support education and awareness. Every colleague is required to complete the training by the end of 2024, which will then be repeated every three years.

We monitor and measure inclusion and diversity using many indicators, including our employee survey. In 2023, when compared to the previous year in 2022, we saw a 6 percentage point increase in our score measuring the statement ‘British Airways cares about diversity and is taking the right steps to improve in this area’.

Enabling diverse representation 

As a global airline with a workforce consisting of over 35,000 people spanning 200 destinations, one of our greatest strengths is the diversity of our people. But we know we have room to improve further, especially in enabling underrepresented groups to have opportunities to progress into senior roles and into positions where there has traditionally been less representation.

Female staff walking up stairs to plane
Female Pilot walking in front of plane
Female Engineer Working on Plane


Gender balance is an integral part of our inclusion, diversity and equity strategy. In 2020, we set a target to increase female representation in our senior roles to 40% by 2025 and we’re on track to reach it. At the end of 2023, women comprised 39.5% of our senior leadership roles. Our focus going forward is to continue the promotion and retention of our mid to senior level women through targeted development.

In 2023 we released our gender pay gap report, with a mean gender pay gap of 67% and a median of 32%. Although we’re proud to employ one of the largest populations of female pilots of any airline in the UK, our pay gap is largely driven by the fact that the majority of our pilots are male. When pilots are excluded from our pay gap figures, our mean gap reduces to 17% and median, 18%. These figures are close to the national average.

  • 39.5%

    females in senior leadership roles

We’re continuing to work on initiatives to drive systemic long-term change and are focusing on how we build our talent pipeline to attract, recruit and retain women in leadership and science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

We’re also focussing on candidate diversity for women and under-represented groups through more inclusive recruitment practices. 2023 achievements include:

  • Creating inclusive recruitment guidelines which include balanced interview panels, shortlists, and proactively monitoring the recruitment pipeline.
  • Working with recruitment agencies that have a deep commitment to sourcing diverse candidates.
  • Participating in the Women in Hospitality Travel and Leisure Global Women’s Leaders programme which offers opportunities for aspiring and talented women at mid-senior level to further develop their career.
  • Facilitating a new colleague network group Women’s Inclusion Network for Success (WINGS) to further promote opportunities for women within our organisation.


  • In 2023, we announced new targets to improve ethnic diversity representation amongst management and senior roles. Across the airline, our ethnic diversity representation compares well with the England and Wales ethnicity census data. However, senior management level is a priority area for action, as well as better reflecting the ethnicity of our base locations.
  • By 2025, our target is for at least 14% of our leaders to be from ethnic minority backgrounds, rising to 20% by 2030. At the end of 2023 our representation stood at 11.8% – a marked improvement of 7.8% from our 2019 baseline.
  • 11.8%

    leaders from ethnic minority backgrounds

2023 achievements

  • Our first ever All Black Flight took place in February 2023 from Heathrow to Barbados, organised by our ethnicity network group to highlight the importance of visible representation and role models in aviation roles. The flight from London Heathrow to Bridgetown in Barbados was staffed by black colleagues, dispatchers, cabin crew, pilots, gate agents and ground staff.
  • We completed our second reverse mentoring programme, pairing 80 of our senior leaders with colleagues from an ethnic minority background. Allowing our colleagues to share their lived experiences in an open and honest way, we covered topics such as language, behaviour, culture, and career progression to increase understanding of barriers whilst also discussing actions and solutions that can drive change. At the end of the programme, 85% of mentees said their mentor had heightened their awareness of barriers for others in the workplace. 60% of mentees said their mentor had sparked ideas to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • For the first time, we participated in the UK Black Business Show – Europe’s largest event showcasing black entrepreneurs, career professionals and allies. We showcased career opportunities and offered guidance on applying and working at British Airways.
  • We introduced the McKinsey Black Leaders Essentials programme. Nine colleagues from Black British, Welsh, African or Caribbean backgrounds participated in the development programme.
  • British Airways colleagues participated in the Women in Hospitality Travel and Leisure: Ethnic Minority Future Leaders programme, a six-month programme to support career progression.

Disability and accessibility

This year our focus has been on driving greater inclusion and awareness to promote better accessibility across British Airways. This has included:

  • Focussing on auditing the accessibility of our head office and implementing changes.
  • Supporting the development of a new colleague accessibility network group.
  • Providing neurodiversity training for key stakeholders through our partnership with the Business Disability Forum.
  • Sharing three colleague stories with different disabilities during our Disability Month to raise awareness of conditions, accessibility issues and the need for adjustments.

Photo of Alzheimer's Society Stall

Colleague Network Groups

Our colleague network groups help us build a diverse and inclusive environment by providing a safe space for employee-led conversations whilst also increasing a sense of belonging.

Our networks support under-represented groups where there is a differential in the representation of a particular subgroup in society and within the company, but welcome colleagues and allies from all backgrounds.

Our colleague network groups have been pivotal in enabling us to deliver awareness and celebratory events including LGBT+ History Month, International Women’s Day, Pride, Black History Month and National Inclusion Week. We also support our faith societies, to raise awareness, celebrate religious festivities and advise the company on policies and processes which support greater inclusion.

Creating new career pathways

Photo of pilot training in cockpit

Speedbird Pilot Academy

In 2023, we funded 100 candidates to train as pilots through our Speedbird Pilot Academy. Successful candidates are offered a place at an approved flight training school and, on passing the course, a position as a British Airways pilot. The programme seeks to remove the financial barriers to accessing a career as a pilot, making the programme much more accessible, as well as enabling more diverse representation.

In 2023, we also re-established the ‘Your Flying Future’ outreach programme to promote opportunities, raise awareness and provide guidance to aspiring pilots from all backgrounds.

Student Outreach and Employment Opportunities 

  • Through Speedbird Z, our student engagement platform, we’ve supported the employment prospects of 10,000 students by providing information and insight into careers at British Airways.
  • We’ve also continued to partner and provide funding to organisations such as Fantasy Wings, Air League and schools and universities to strengthen our diversity pipeline and promote opportunities to those in underrepresented groups.
  • We hired candidates across 12 apprenticeship schemes covering airport operations, engineering, business and customer service as well as 11-month business placements and three-month internships for future leaders. These opened up different entry routes with a higher proportion of ethnic minority colleagues and those from working class backgrounds.
  • We also re-introduced opportunities for work experience students through new hybrid placements focussing on students in the local community. Today, one in five of our apprentices have already experienced life at British Airways via a work experience initiative.
  • We also supported partnerships to promote social mobility within our entry-level roles. A highlight was our partnership with The Princes Trust: Get into Aviation Programme, which encourages 18–30 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider a career in aviation. 27 young adults joined the scheme and 11 young people were offered a space on one of our apprenticeship programmes.

Group of BA staff

Yearly Statistics

  • Females in senior roles

    Measurement: %

    38.9% 37.7% 37.9% 38% 39.5%
  • Ethnic minorities in senior roles

    Measurement: %

    8.6% 8.6% 10.1% 9.89% 11.80%