Aviation

“There is still a pay gap”: Qatar Airways’ regional boss on gender equality in the travel industry

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Despite the continued progress towards gender equality in the travel industry, remuneration remains a major issue, according to Qatar Airways’ new regional manager for Australasia.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Cassandra Kerr said the industry has come a long way in terms of gender equality over the years, with many more women in leadership positions than ever before.

“However, there is still a pay gap between the genders,” she said.

“From my time in the industry living abroad, I’ve also noticed different countries having slower progress in recognising the value of women in the industry, when you compare it to Australia.”

Kerr said it was important to continually bring awareness to these issues, and continue to highlight the importance of women, not just in the travel sector, but the workforce more broadly.

“That said, I do believe it is important in any industry to balance men and women, so we can all collaborate and share in knowledge and leadership,” she added.

“We need to balance each other out. It is important that all companies are incredibly creative about drawing on resources across all its operations to make a difference.”

When starting out the industry more than 25 years ago by applying for a sales position, Kerr experienced workforce discrimination for the first time because she was female.

“At the time, they basically only wanted male salespeople, and today women are leading the sales profession in the industry,” she said.

“Take Qatar Airways in Australia, for example. The majority of our sales team and their leaders are women, and I’m proud to be leading such a knowledgeable and passionate team.

“One of the most powerful tools for positive change that any business has is the opportunity to mobilise its team creating innovation, collaboration, creativity and inspiration.”

Kerr said that given the sheer size of the travel industry, the need for having strong female leaders and mentors will be more important than ever post-COVID.

“Diversity should be a core value to the industry, and I’d like to see it prioritised as we emerge from the pandemic,” she told Travel Weekly.

“From gender equality to multiculturalism, people with a disability and all other minority groups, everyone deserves an equal chance and opportunity to learn and grow across all parts of the industry.

“Rather than discriminating against certain parts of the population, we need to start seeing the value in everyone’s experiences.

“The more diverse perspectives there are in the room, the more diverse the ideas.”


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