Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in People and communities

A message from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Jesssica Kimbrough

We provide life-changing experiences and opportunities every day by connecting millions of customers and tens of thousands of employees to hundreds of destinations and work locations around the world. We outperform as an airline when we include perspectives from the best talent, from every background; when we treat every customer with care, dignity and respect; and when we expect– and reciprocate – every partner to uphold the same high standards.

Our purpose-driven commitment to DEI has not only remained but has grown even stronger throughout the pandemic and we will continue to demonstrate transformational progress as we grow the airline in the years to come.”

—Jessica Kimbrough, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

Purpose, progress and pathways

We are changing the face of the aviation industry and creating pathways for more diverse representation, equitable opportunities and inclusion in all areas of our business. It starts with creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace at our airline and turning that effort outward to include our customers, commercial partners and communities.

We are on the path to becoming the best airline in aviation history and to fully achieve that goal, we must ensure that our airline, our team members and our policies reflect our global customer base and the communities we serve.

Stakeholder engagement

The primary stakeholders in our DEI journey are our:

  • Employees

    We are creating new pathways into long, lucrative aviation careers and a workplace where all employees feel included and empowered to make a measurable difference in our success. We offer policies, programs, benefits and recognition designed to reward and support the success of our diverse workforce and we seek to attract, retain, and develop diverse leaders.

  • Customers

    We strive to provide a safe and inclusive experience for our millions of diverse customers worldwide and to treat each one with dignity and respect.

  • Commercial partners

    Our commitment to business diversity and empowerment extends from our workforce and continues in our relationships with our suppliers. As a global company, we are committed to uplifting communities all around the world by partnering with diverse-owned businesses of all backgrounds and sizes.

  • Communities

    Our partnerships with local, national and global organizations and our work with elected officials and civic leaders provide opportunities to make a difference at all levels and champion causes that reflect our purpose and values.

Pathways to careers

United Aviate Academy

In the spring of 2021, United set a goal to train 5,000 pilots by 2030 at our new facility – the United Aviate Academy at Phoenix Goodyear Airport - and for at least half of those students to be women or people of color.. With our inaugural class of 30 students, we exceeded that goal with 80% of students being women or people of color. Students will complete a rigorous, year-long training program that sets them up for a career that reflects United’s high standard of professionalism and deep commitment to delivering a safe, caring, dependable and efficient travel experience. Moving forward, we anticipate welcoming between 25 and 50 new students each month and expect to train at least 500 students yearly.

New pathways

The future of our DEI strategy focuses on creating new pathways into more of our long, lucrative careers at United and growing diversity at every level of our operation. Building on the success of United Aviate Academy, we will create greater awareness and access to opportunities in other technical and management careers for underrepresented groups. We are growing our programs focused on developing inclusive pipelines for management, Technician and Dispatch careers.

Retaining (and growing) the diversity of our workforce demographic data

At the beginning of 2021 we shared our U.S. workforce demographic data and made a commitment to transparency as we progress toward our goal of more fully reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve. Each business unit has established a DEI strategy tailored to its needs. While we have already made progress in the right direction, we recognize that we have work to do in certain leadership levels and technical roles.

In the first of what has become an annual report, we shared our achievement of near-perfect pay equity and committed to maintaining it for employees of all genders,races and ethnicities for employees performing comparable work across our U.S. operations.

Our 2021 report (released in February 2022), notes overall growth in representation of women and underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, progress we will continue to celebrate and build on for years to come.

Executive Council on DEI & We Stand United

United’s Executive Council on DEI, comprised of the full executive leadership team and chaired by our President, Brett Hart, sets the tone and supports our strategic vision for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace and world. The We Stand United Collaborative Action team of officers and senior leaders from across the company embeds diversity, equity and inclusion strategy into every aspect of our business on behalf of our key stakeholders – employees, customers, communities and commercial partners.

Business Resource Groups

To support advancement towards United's DEI goals, we strategically partner with eight employee-run Business Resource Groups (BRGs). Each group — Black, LGBTQ+, multicultural, multigenerational, people with disabilities, veterans, women, and working parents & caregivers –sponsored by Executive Team members who support their mission to build communities of inclusion and belonging and create opportunities for allyship, while nurturing United’s diverse talent, enriching the airline’s organizational culture and contributing to strong business performance.

In 2021, we launched our Black BRG, BEACON (Black Excellence Amplified Continuously in Our Network) and this year we launched our KINnect BRG for working parents and caregivers.

Enhancing inclusive culture

We recognize that employees who feel like they belong here can perform at their best and deliver service that gives customers a sense of belonging here.  

Some steps we’ve taken to grow our inclusive culture in 2021:

  • Listening. Rolled out a comprehensive Listening Session strategy and toolkit for leaders to connect with their team members and report themes we can learn from.
  • Learning and development. Integrated DEI into our learning and development and increased our leadership development programs to further invest in our employees.
  • Understanding. Launched our first annual self-ID campaign inviting employees to share new dimensions of diversity including gender identity and more than one race or ethnicity. This initiative will help us gain a deeper understanding of our workforce so we can tailor employee programs and policies to be more inclusive and reflective of our diverse team.
  • Modernizing appearance. Modernized our appearance standards for uniformed customer-facing United employees to permit greater freedom of expression, to be less gender-specific, more flexible and inclusive.
  • Inclusive language. Signed our first collective bargaining agreement with gender neutral language.
  • Pay equity. Achieved near-perfect pay equity for employees of all genders and races performing comparable work across our U.S. operations and will conduct annual reviews of our pay practices to maintain pay equity.

Accessible travel for customers

From intuitive Inflight Entertainment for screen readers to menu planning and service that reflects the cultures in diverse locations we serve; we want all our customers to feel safe and welcome when they fly with us.

Mobile app

Our United mobile app, award-winning for design and user experience, is assisting visually-impaired customers through increased color contrast, more space between graphics and reordering how information is displayed to better integrate with the screen reader technologies built into most handheld devices.

Specialized training

As we expand our already-extensive route network, we have implemented specialized training for our Inflight team to better engage with customers from across the globe. For example, when we launched our non-stop service to Accra last spring, our Cultural Ambassador Training provided service tips, language pointers and fun facts about West Africa that enabled our flight attendants to better welcome our Ghanaian customers onboard.

Empowering communities

In 2021, we committed 30 million MileagePlus miles to raise funds in support of initiatives and organizations committed to DEI including our work with and investment of over $37,000 with My Block, My Hood, My City, the Chicagoland non-profit that helps underprivileged youth broaden their horizons by providing them with new experiences and exposes them to new possibilities beyond their own communities.

Through our long-standing partnership with Special Olympics, we grew our Special Olympics Ambassadors Program and welcomed 10 new Ambassadors to work hand in hand with our Airport Operations and Customer Service teams.

As a caring citizen in our global community, we aided Afghanistan relief efforts through the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program and provided support to our non-profit partners that used air travel to transport and help Afghan refugees who arrived in the U.S.

Spotlight on commercial partners

Using the Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR) as our North star, we are working with 15 cross-divisional Business Diversity Ambassadors to improve the rate of inclusion for diverse-owned businesses and have added 23 new BDR-certified diverse-owned firms to the program.

We have supplemented our efforts through execution of our 36-month growth plan with JPMorgan Chase as a Gold Supplier. This plan provides categories of focus aligned with our BDR induction goals to include emphasis in growing with Black and LatinX suppliers.

We continue to demonstrate active leadership for business diversity in community local to our Chicago headquarters as well, being voted in as chair of the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council in July 2021.

External accreditation

We have been recognized by external organizations for our efforts to strengthen inclusion, including:

  • DiversityInc 2021 Top 50 Companies for Diversity

    Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

    Only airline to make this list of top companies in the U.S. that excel in diversity and inclusion management (also listed as a “Top Company for ESG”, #11 “Top Company for Mentoring”, #23 “Top Company for ERGs”)

  • NOD Leading disability employer 2021

    Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.

    Scored 100 percent for the sixth-straight year

  • Corporate Equality Index 2022

    Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality.

    Recognized for 11 years of perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index

  • JPMorgan & Chase Co. Strategic Supplier Gold

    JPMorgan Chase Gold Supplier Status.

    One of only two airlines to make the list of the first 43 Gold Suppliers to ever be publicly recognized by JPMorgan Chase, the firm’s top designation for preferred suppliers

DEI data

Data on our workforce demographics and labor relations can be found on our data page.