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Enigmatic India

This blog captures the life experiences of the Enigmatic India team in the beautiful and enigmatic country of India.We capture our experiences through our writings, photos and products that depict the very essence and fabric of India.Through this platform, we invite you to join us in our journey as we explore.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Diversity in hiring of cabin crews in the Indian airlines Industry

I have been flying with many airlines(operated in india) and have a question regarding "diversity in hiring of cabin crew".

What I have noticed is that most of the cabin crew members are very fair skinned. As a country(India)we have a very diverse population with varied complexions, and the composition of cabin crew members donot represent the country's population of us.Having said this, I donot want to single out any particular airlines for this practice, rather it's an industry problem barring Indian Airlines(which has social obligations) and I am baffled at this practice.

It is probably not the best human resources practice to hire employees of a particular kind - in this case fair skinned Indians. This has a huge social impact to the extent the FMCG companies have started branding their advertisments around "fairness and getting into a cabin crew role". It puts a lot of pressure of kids wanting to be fair so that they can pursue a career in Airlines industry.

My view is that organizations should be more inclusive in their hiring strategies and also evaluate the overall socio-economic impact they create within the country.

I thought of sharing my views with as a citizen of India.

1 comment:

  1. Anish ChowdharyMay 21, 2010 9:13 PM

    HR strategy is derived from the corporate or business strategy. These business strategies are based on “delivering good experience” to customers as part of their Customer-Focus philosophy. Unfortunately having fair-skinned air hostesses is implied as part of delivering “such an experience”. This stems from the traditional Indian mindset of equating beauty with fairness! The airline companies simply exploit these notions to cater to these “latent needs”. Accordingly, HR recruits such females!
    An interesting point if you have noted is that almost 80-85% cabin crew is female while only 60-70% travellers are men! So, ratio is skewed as far as diversity balance is concerned. Interestingly, if you see most of the male cabin recruits hired are also fair-skinned or have that typical “chocolate boy” looks. So, what happened to the traditional concept of “tall, dark and handsome” !! Or is it that airline companies believe in this fair-skin concept only with respect to male travellers?
    Taking a more macro-scopic view, why should even slimness or looks be factors for hiring in the services industry? A good customer service person should have a cheerful appearance, warmth, inter-personal relationship skills, basic fitness and intelligence. Looks should not be a factor at all for discrimination!
    HR managers and corporate policy-makers are humans after all and let’s accept the fact that entry into the 21st century has not extricated us of all our animalistic instincts that have been inveterate in our genome during the course of millions of years of evolution! We have a long way to go and the starting point should be to question our own prejudices, whatever they may be, and strive for continuous improvement in our processes as much as we can!


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