A year after our CEO, Ed Bastian, committed to taking action on inequity and injustice, Delta remains focused on continuous improvement for our people and the communities where we live, work and serve. While we’ve improved over the past year, this is a journey, not a destination, and we still have a long way to go.
“We're making headway and know that even harder work remains ahead,” said Keyra Lynn Johnson, Delta’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. “Through transparency, we build accountability in an effort to ensure our actions don't simply reflect activity, but real progress.”
Reflecting the world
At Delta, we seek to reflect the world we live, work and serve in at all levels of our company. With a historic level of change in our employee and management base last year, we are building a more diverse organization and management team as we recover from the pandemic that will lead a new Delta into the future. We remain committed to doubling the percentage of Black Officers and Directors and growing the percentage of other Minority and Female Officers. We measure our progress with the goal of improving on a year-over-year basis through 2025 and beyond. Our Close the Gap strategy translates those words into action.
Through Delta’s Close the Gap reporting, we hold ourselves accountable for our plan to grow and attract talent in three demographics where the difference in representation between frontline employees and leaders remains the largest: Black employees, women and other ethnic minority groups.
Here is a look at the progress we have made since introducing the Close the Gap strategy in January 2021:
- Black employees now represent a larger percentage of entry-level managers and General Manager through Managing Director levels. While the pipeline is being strengthened, Vice President and above talent remains an area of focus.
- More women now represent our company across entry-level managers, General Managers through Managing Directors and most notably at the VP and above levels.
- Increased representation among our colleagues who are ethnic minorities (Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Alaskan, Hawaiian, two or more races) across all levels of leadership.
The data-driven approach to Close the Gap also helps us identify opportunities to do better, including growing, attracting and retaining Black talent at the Vice President and above level.
Reimagining our talent strategy
Every job posting is an opportunity for us to bring a person with new experience, perspectives, ideas and backgrounds onto our team. To achieve that goal, we must build a more equitable talent experience. Our efforts will continue to focus on removing barriers that prevent exposure to careers at Delta and attracting qualified, diverse candidates for underrepresented roles.
- We’re already seeing broader diversity in candidates for General Manager, Director and Managing Director roles, enabling more diversity in hiring. Black external candidates now represent 33% of our new hires for these roles, up from 20% in 2020. Other ethnic minorities represent another 33%, up from 25% in 2020.
- In the first quarter of 2021, 95% of the positions we filled did not require a college degree, compared with 78% in the same time period in 2020.
Boldly pursuing equity
Leadership means living by example and advocating for positive change. As an industry leader, Delta is committed to engaging with local and national policymakers to promote justice and equity. This year we joined the Bipartisan Policy Center Business Alliance for Effective Democracy, which prioritizes policies that enhance the voting experience, inspire confidence in election results, and foster collaboration and bipartisanship in our governing institutions, especially Congress.
We’re also looking at ourselves, seeking opportunities to integrate equity principles across all of Delta’s people programs, including talent acquisition, healthcare, compensation, performance management, employee experience, learning, rewards, people operations and professional development practices.
In July, 7,000 Airport Customer Service and Cargo employees transitioned from part-time Ready Reserve roles to benefit-eligible Customer Service Agents. This change was a significant step forward to create more equity across our employee workgroups by providing access to all Delta benefits, including health care.
Creating more equitable opportunities
We believe creating opportunities means forging partnerships and supporting organizations that are making a difference.
- As part of our commitment that one-third of our annual charitable contributions and giving will go to equity-focused organizations and initiatives, we’re now looking at historical partnerships through an equity lens and investing in new partnerships with organizations that boldly pursue equity.
- We’ve expanded our partnership with Operation HOPE to support its One Million Black Business and Entrepreneur Initiative and Financial Literacy for All, offering financial literacy programs for Delta employees. We have ten coaches on-site at our major U.S. hubs, and all domestic employees will have access to these coaches virtually.
- As a founding member of OneTen, we’ve begun work inside Delta to pursue a “skills-first” hiring approach, removing the four-year degree requirement from more than 70% of our jobs. As the largest employer in Georgia, Delta intends to help lead the coalition’s efforts to build a Black talent ecosystem within Atlanta.
Supporting Black business partners
Beyond our partnerships with civic organizations, we’re also seeking to double how much money we spend with Black-owned businesses by 2025. So far in 2021, we’ve reached only 27% of our annual target. We remain focused on increasing access to RFPs for Black- and minority-owned businesses.
Stepping up inclusion training at every level of the company
Over the past year, Delta launched enhanced inclusion training for our employees. While the goal is to have every employee complete the training by the end of 2022, more than 52,800 of our employees have participated in the training so far. The training focuses on understanding, action and inclusive behaviors. In post-training surveys, employees have said the series helps them recognize how their actions might impact others and that they feel motivated to use the skills they learned.
To underscore the value of this training and build understanding within our employee base, we’ve launched a “Let’s Talk About It” townhall series that brings to the forefront issues that groups are facing daily for broader discussions with leaders and employees.
At Delta, our journey towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive company started with listening, and more importantly, hearing from each other. Listening has inspired us to act in meaningful and strategic ways that we believe will ultimately make a lasting difference within our organization and the world our people serve.
“Are we where we want to be?” Johnson asked. “Not yet. And still, once Delta reaches these goals, we expect to set new ones that continue our journey, making us even stronger and reflective of the world we connect.”
About Delta Air Lines
At Delta, we are committed to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the broadest sense as part of our work to connect and reflect the world. Delta drives meaningful impact by actively seeking diversity, boldly pursuing equity and consciously promoting inclusion while holding ourselves accountable to these goals.
Delta's senior cross-divisional Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council, made up by nearly 30 executive leaders, is charged with ensuring these goals are relevant and embedded throughout the organization. The company also has 10 Business Resource Groups with over 24,000 employee members, and these groups seek to ensure that diverse perspectives remain an intrinsic component of the decision-making process. As part of the company’s holistic, comprehensive DEI strategy, Delta has placed a focus on closing representation gaps and systemic change by becoming an anti-racism, anti-discrimination organization. Learn more here.
As a "Best Workplace for Diversity," Delta has been recognized as a "Best Workplace for Women" by Great Place To Work and Fortune for three years in a row, "Top-Rated Workplaces for Veterans" by Indeed, and "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion."
Forward Looking Statements
Statements made in this release that are not historical facts, including statements regarding our estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections, goals, aspirations, commitments or strategies for the future, should be considered “forward-looking statements” under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are not guarantees or promised outcomes and should not be construed as such. All forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates, expectations, beliefs, intentions, projections, goals, aspirations, commitments and strategies reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those described in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2020 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2021. Caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements, which represent our views only as of the date of this release, and which we undertake no obligation to update except to the extent required by law.