Virgin Atlantic job applications have doubled since the airline changed its dress code to allow male crew to wear skirts.
Shai Weiss, Virgin chief executive, said there was a 100% increase in candidates after the drop in requirements for staff to wear “gender uniform options”.
In addition to allowing male staff to wear skirts and pants of female counterparts, the need for cabin crew to wear makeup was removed and the ban on displaying tattoos was lifted. Gender-neutral pronouns were also introduced as part of Virgin’s “See the World Differently” campaign.
Weiss said reforms to the historically more conservative industry have been a “huge” help as airlines grapple with a scorching job market.
“We have seen a 100% increase in candidates after the ‘See the world differently’ campaign,” he told The Telegraph, aboard Virgin Atlantic’s maiden flight from Heathrow to Tampa.
Unlike many of its rivals, Weiss said Virgin was not struggling to fill vacancies after being forced into cost-cutting measures during the pandemic.
The aviation sector in general was accused by ministers of not having “organized” in view of the increase in demand for air travel this summer. The first full summer season since 2019 was marked by cancellations, disruptions and chaotic scenes at airports as bosses lamented a lack of staff.
The staff shortage in the UK has been replicated at airports and airlines across the continent. After being fired during the pandemic, many cabin and ground crew members changed jobs and preferred not to return when Covid travel restrictions were eased.
Calls to add aviation workers to the UK’s shortage list went blank in Westminster earlier this year. Among leaders, however, hopes remain that the visa system will be changed to allow more EU migrants to fill employee shortages.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary last week complained about the UK’s approach, saying the low-cost airline was left in the “bizarre situation” of receiving visas from the Home Office to bring people. from Morocco and Turkey, not the EU.
Virgin Atlantic’s bitter rival British Airways is racing to hire 4,000 new employees before next summer. This year the British flag carrier was forced to set up an overseas base for short-haul flights for the first time in its history and offered its trained cabin crew a welcome bonus of £ 1,000 as they wrestled. with the shortage of employees.
Mr. Weiss said: “When we get 10 candidates for each job, we are in a really good position.
“Short-range pilots want to be long-range pilots. And long-haul pilots want to be Virgin Atlantic pilots ”.
Heathrow Airport said last week it needed to add around 7,500 new staff before next summer.
Germany’s Lufthansa, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that the salaries of newcomers will rise by nearly a fifth to lure people into its ranks.