Virgin Atlantic has seen job applications double after its decision to offer cabin crew non-gendered uniform options. Under Virgin’s new rules, staff are allowed to wear whichever uniform they feel comfortable with.

Virgin job applications up 100%

Virgin Atlantic CEO Shai Weiss recently revealed that job applications to work at the carrier have doubled since it removed gendered uniform requirements. Virgin’s ‘See The World Differently’ campaign showcased male cabin crew wearing skirts and female and nonbinary staff donning the airline’s trouser suits.

Virgin atlantic cabin crew

Photo: Virgin Atlantic

Speaking to The Telegraph onboard the carrier’s inaugural service from London Heathrow to Tampa, Weiss said,

“We saw a 100% uplift in applicants following the campaign, ‘See the world differently’.”

Virgin’s CEO added that the airline’s gender-neutral policy changes have given it the recruitment edge in an industry that is typically conservative. Like many airlines over the pandemic, Virgin implemented significant cost-cutting measures which led to the loss of thousands of jobs.

Following an earlier recruitment drive to bring in up to 400 new staff, Virgin recently announced it is looking to recruit up to 200 cabin crew to be based out of London Heathrow Airport. Estelle Hollingsworth, Chief People Officer at Virgin Atlantic, added,

“Our customers and colleagues come from diverse backgrounds and we’re committed to continuing our support of diversity both on the ground and on board. We’re seeking new recruits from all backgrounds who aspire to be the friendly, smiling and professional face that is the airline – with the iconic Virgin Atlantic style and flair.”

What changed?

As Simple Flying reported in September, Virgin Atlantic will allow non-gendered uniform choices along with a few other key changes. The airline rolled out new Vivienne-Westwood-designed suits, complete with either skirts or trousers, any of which can be worn by cabin crew regardless of gender.

Other gender-related changes include optional pronoun badges for crew and gender-free booking codes, while Virgin Atlantic hopes to achieve a 50:50 gender balance in leadership roles.

Virgin new gender-neutral uniforms

Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The carrier made headlines back in May after relaxing its tattoo policy ahead of a new recruitment drive. This meant crew members no longer had to cover up their tattoos while on the job, going very much against industry trends. Additionally, Virgin had earlier relaxed its strict make-up policy in 2019 before removing it entirely for female crew.

No problems filling vacancies

CEO Weiss said that Virgin has not been struggling to fill job vacancies recently, a far cry from the situation at other airlines. For example, transatlantic rival British Airways is eager to hire over 4,000 new staff by next summer but is having trouble doing so.

Weiss added,

“When we get 10 applicants for every job – we’re in a really good position. Short-haul pilots want to be long-haul pilots. And long-haul pilots want to be Virgin Atlantic pilots.”

Lufthansa has also struggled to bring in enough recruits as it faces staffing issues. The German carrier recently revealed it would raise starter salaries by almost 20% to attract enough applications.

What are your thoughts on Virgin Atlantic’s move towards non-gendered uniforms? Do you think this plays a key role in attracting applicants? Let us know in the comments.

Source: The Telegraph

  • Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1041 (2)

    Virgin Atlantic

    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    London Heathrow Airport

    Year Founded:

    Shai Weiss

    United Kingdom


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