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Diversity Remains An Issue

Since 2009 Aviation Week has conducted a random sample survey of young professionals (those under age 35) and students studying engineering in the United States.


During this time the ethnic and gender diversity has not markedly changed, despite focus on this need from professional engineering organizations, trade associations, federal agencies and companies of all sizes. The following data reflects the findings of our surveys, conducted between February and March of 2020.

University Population Gender



  • Overall, the representation of women in the university engineering student population has increased to 31%.


  • However, the percentage of women in engineering in senior year reflects the longer-term situation – 23%.


  • One good highlight – the numbers for the junior and sophomore classes are high but must be maintained through graduation.

Student Ethnic Diversity

The percentage of Latino/Hispanic heritage students has remained fairly consistent but falls in graduate school.


It appears that more white students are making through to graduation; those who leave tend to do so early in their undergrad years.


This chart might indicate the need to ensure that people of color receive mentoring early in their education.

Student Matriculation by Ethnicity


Student Ethnicity


  • The student population remains overwhelmingly white.
  • No measurable change in the Black population The freshman population is 3% and senior population is 2% Black. The sophomore population is higher, at 7%.
  • Slight uptick in Latino/ Hispanic enrollment overall and is above 10% for all undergrad levels except juniors (9%)

Student Loans Remain An Issue

Black students incur the highest rate of debt and are most likely to be working full time.


Asian-American students are less likely to use loans or to work while in college.


All students are more likely to be working at least part-time by their junior year.


While working during college is viewed positively by employers, it may also affect performance.

Student Loan Use


Students Working While In School


Young Professional Diversity

The percentage of women has risen for the first time in 10 years, to 29% of the population.

The percentage of African-American employees stagnate…again. The Latino/Hispanic population also stagnates.

Young Professionals: Gender


Young Professionals: Diversity



  • Work closely with HBCUs to develop data set reflecting these universities specifically
  • Query universities to determine the timing of when all diverse groups “drop” from engineering enrollment
  • Compare “drop “ rates for engineering with all university population and for other STEM degree programs
  • Define what the reasons were that female freshman enrollment in engineering increased the last three years and assist in supporting continued momentum
  • Evaluate whether the focus for attracting top talent go beyond engineering – business/.finance, logistics, etc.
  • Identify what the impact is of full-time work on academic performance or matriculation
  • Better assess the impact of student debt on graduation and geographic location upon graduation



Each year, Aviation Week Network surveys students and young professionals across the global aerospace community as part of our workforce program. This year, we are releasing sneak previews of our upcoming study via quick-read infographics.