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Career change 30+, is it different for women?

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Career change 30+, is it different for women?

Old 23rd Jan 2013, 10:22
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: SWE/DE
Age: 41
Posts: 20
Career change 30+, is it different for women?

Hi all,

new here and questions already.

I am one of the many frustrated "never done anything about it" people who finally have the means for a modular but not really the age any longer. But dont worry, I wont bother you with the 2734th thread about this. My worries are more specific.

I am female and have always wondered why I was so very alone with career change plans. (I have already changed career once.) There are plenty guys in their 30s and 40s here, investigating their options. Ok, women are generally rarer in cockpit jobs, but how come that they either go for it at young age - or not at all (commercially speaking, recreational flying is a different thing).

So apart from all the other cons that everybody else is facing as well, I am worried about not just being exotic in terms of age, but also that gender might play in on crooked sideways here. I have never felt outright discriminated against, and I definately believe that a young and able, postergirl frontline woman probably has advantages in most image-conscious corporations, rather than disadvantages for being female. However, I do have experience with "not being seen", not being recognized as potential, something that men know too, with some workplaces things just dont click. I think it has something to do with identifying people as "one of our type", not deliberately so but still it happens. I would dare to say, in some businesses women may be "less visible" in that sense, just as men might be in others. And since there seem to be virtually no women lining up with a fresh license at late 30s/early 40s, how can I ever be "one of their type". Normally, call it bad luck and move on. But in aviation, where decent jobs are so rare, every turndown is a real problem, so it better be for the right reasons if you understand. I feel I might be disadvantaged in terms of aviation work culture (a mix of young energetic men and women, commited mature men and experienced Alpha males).

Before this gets too wound up: can anyone relate to what I am thinking here? Any experiences, thoughts and insights from career changers between 30 and 50? Male perspective is very welcome too!

For the record: geographically, my turf would be Scandinavia, UK and German speaking countries.
DoobyDoo is offline  
Old 23rd Jan 2013, 16:50
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: all around
Posts: 23
I do not think it is much different for women

I do not think it is much different for women it is only the fact that female commercial/airline pilots are much more rare and we dont hear so many stories about them.

The first female of Malev started to fly for them when she was 37 in 1998. (ok she started flying several years before that)

I think in some cases it even may help when you are a woman.
flightbooking is offline  
Old 23rd Jan 2013, 20:42
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Hampshire
Age: 41
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Without prejudice... I doubt there is anything more against you than any others of us in either sex in the same situation.

Coming from a different, but also male dominated profession I 'suspect' that it is possibly advantageous. In my current organisation and profession, there is currently an undertone of positive discrimination towards women. Hopefully we are living in enlightened times where ability goes before gender!
Whiskey Bravo is offline  
Old 23rd Jan 2013, 21:04
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: uk
Posts: 416
I'm sure your money is as welcome to the flight training schools as anyones. I tend to think gender would be the least of any worries in trying to get a good paying job in aviation at present, particularly if you're going modular. A very rough calculation would have you breaking even as a loco co-pilot after around 8 to 10 years, compared with someone on the minimum wage (UK). Thats if you got a job straight after training.
Art of flight is offline  
Old 23rd Jan 2013, 21:32
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Thanks for answers so far, hope for many more.

However, I would like to point out that my question was not so much about gender as such, but specifically the situation of mature female prospects. Have any of you encountered this rare species?

It may sound odd to many, but then again, most aspiring pilots see lots of their kind in the industry (= young or mature males), and young women also have their share of role models after all. Which leaves them with a vision, living proof that it can be done.

As for my possible plans, I see Zilch Zip Zero people like me starting out in the business. Where are the grown women? Is it just their own circumstance, or gives the industry them an extra reason to shy away (not suggesting this happens deliberately, but see initial post for issues like culture, habit, expectations).
DoobyDoo is offline  
Old 23rd Jan 2013, 21:47
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Hello, I'm male and fly helicopters (offshore North Sea) so don't have exactly the perspective you're hoping to hear from... However I did career change to start flying training mid-30s (also my 2nd full career change) with all the commensurate worry that brings, so have some empathy with your situation and my story may (or may not) be of relevance.

I also completely understand how rare it is to be considering changing career in your 30s - just about everyone I knew was genuinely astonished that I did it (I turned down the next promotion to do it for a start). Realistically though, a big reason so few people do it is that by then so many are tied down with mortgages, marriage, kids etc.

When I found myself in a position (around 2007) where it began to dawn on me that shifting career to my 'dream' job could potentially be done, I worked the numbers (ie ) to death, weighed up the risks and even then (when things were on a huge high for zero-hour pilots) I decided that the risk was 1 I would only take (bearing in mind the age factor) if I could get myself onto a 'tagged' scheme with an integrated FTO.

My reasoning was 1) getting 'tagged' up front was the only acceptable level of risk I could afford 2) going modular would mean I'd be even older when I qualified 3) my job was way too busy for me to fit modular studies / training in and 4) whether anyone agrees with it or not, my personal judgement was that I'd get better results going integrated. Just explaining my decision-making - not trying to pass judgement

Anyway, I found the age thing interesting, hence this post. For all the 'equal opportunities' BS that companies claim to comply with, I found that when I got to final interview for tagged schemes it was always the younger guys who got picked. It wasn't until the 7th scheme I applied for (and my 4th final interview stage) that I managed to play the game adeptly enough to get a place on their scheme.

At the time I knew full well that my previous experience (management positions in 2 different industries), my age, my confidence etc etc were all playing against me big-time because airlines are looking for co-pilots not people who think they're already Captains (and rightly so). By being older, more experienced, more confident etc I had quite a job convincing them of this. (Incidentally it has worked out fine in reality, for all the play-acting required at interview )

So, after waffling on (sorry) - I think your gender is as likely to play in your favour as against (depends who's interviewing you) but my personal opinion regarding the age aspect hasn't changed - I would still be looking to get tagged or (I think in the current economic conditions particularly) you're taking an immense risk. My apologies if that is purely 1 person's opinion but you did ask I have succeeded in making the switch but I am under no illusions at all that I have been INCREDIBLY lucky.

And on that note, I wish you the very best of luck whatever you decide to do. I for one would be interested to hear how it pans out for you.

BM

PS - art of flight: I fully agree

Last edited by BusinessMan; 23rd Jan 2013 at 21:59.
BusinessMan is offline  
Old 23rd Jan 2013, 22:34
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Join Date: Oct 2004
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DoobyDoo - check your PMs...
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