It’s likely no secret that — as a whole — there’s a lack of diversity in drones. But what may come as more surprising is how many people are concerned about it.
Results from a recent industry survey show what might be considered staggering figures when it comes to how people perceive diversity (or lack thereof) in the drone industry. New researched released today from a survey conducted in late summer 2021 found that almost 75% of respondents said they felt moderate to extreme concern about the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the drone industry in general. An even higher 80% of respondents expressed concern — ranging from moderate to extreme — about the lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their own drone-related business or organization. What’s more, a yet higher 81% of survey respondents expressed moderate to extreme interest in increasing DEI in their companies.
In short, it seems as though an overwhelmingly majority of people believe the industry struggles from a lack of diversity. But most people want to fix the issue.
After all, roughly 5% of Skydio 2 drones were purchased by women, while 95% were purchased by men, according to user data released in March 2021 by the company. Across the broader U.S. drone pilot population, 6.7% of the 160,302 remote pilots registered with the FAA are women, according to Federal Aviation Administration Aeronautical Center Data. What’s more, that’s worse than the overall aviation industry, where just 7% of commercial pilots licenses are held by women. An even fewer 6.6% of private pilots licenses are held by women.
Two big reasons why lack of diversity in drones might be a problem
Some might be able to write a War and Peace-length dissertation on why lack of diversity in drones might be a problem. But here are just a few reasons of especial interest, in brief:
Profits might not be as big
The survey asked what, if any, financial impact to expect on drone-related industries if a diverse workforce is not available or if available, is not treated equitably or fully included in business activities. 96% of respondents said they felt there would be a financial impact ranging from “limited” to “severe.”
In other industries, there’s reason to believe that more diverse teams equal more money. While only 5% of overall Fortune 1000 companies are run by women, they contribute 7% of the total revenue to the same companies on that list. Additionally, those companies also outperform the S&P 500 index on average.
Similarly, a 2015 McKinsey report of 366 U.S. and U.K.-based companies found that there’s a strong correlation between companies with higher-than-average diversity (racial/ethnic and gender) and companies with higher-than-average profits.
It could be harder to hire
67% of job seekers said they consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities, according to a Glassdoor survey, and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity. A diverse team could be more appealing to prospective hires, meaning they come work for you — and not a competitor. It also means you’re less likely to face employee turnover, which can also be tough on business owners.
About the diversity in drones survey
The survey at hand is called the “Women and Drones – DDNC – P3 Tech 2021 UAS/AAM Industry DEI Survey,” and it was conducted between Aug. 6 and Sept. 17, 2021.
For the purposes of the survey, diverse include people who identify with any of the following popultions:
- Black or African
- Hispanic, Latino or Spanish Origin
- Native American or Alaska Native
- Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
- Female Gender
The research for it was done by a triad of women-owned businesses, Women And Drones, P3 Tech Consulting and the Diversity Development Network of Canada (DDNC). More than 1,000 people responded to the survey, which was sent to people working in a variety of uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) businesses and sectors across the U.S.
You can download a free summary report of the Women and Drones – DDNC – P3 Tech 2021 UAS/AAM Industry DEI Survey here.