Indian airlines employ the highest proportion of female pilots. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Airlines have been stepping up their efforts to recruit more female pilots, and Indian airlines employ the highest proportion of female pilots.

According to the latest statistics from the International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISWAP), Zoom Air, tops the chart, hiring nine female pilots out of a total of 30.

India has a growing middle class and commercial air travel is going to increase.

Kathy McCullough, communications chairwoman for ISWAP and a retired female captain, told BBC that Indian companies have “aggressively encouraged more women to become airline pilots in what they see as an upcoming pilot shortage.”

In India, about 12.4 per cent airline pilots are women, and globally, just 5.18 per cent of commercial pilots are women.

In the UK, about 4.77 per cent of airline pilots are women and they earn anywhere between £20-30,000. For experienced captains, pay can reach more than £140,000.

According to the National Careers Service in the UK, that’s higher than the £105,250 you could earn as an air commodore in the Royal Air Force.

As for the gender pay gap, Ryanair reported the largest difference for an airline at 71.8 per cent. EasyJet had a 45.5 per cent pay gap, but said that men and women in the same roles are paid equally, reported BBC.

Much of the gap can be explained by the proportion of male pilots. For example, at EasyJet, pilots make up a quarter of its UK employees. About 6 per cent of its UK pilots are women and they are paid £92,400 on average. Lower-paid cabin crew, 69 per cent of whom are women, earn an average salary of £24,800.

The airline has set a target stating that 20 per cent of new entrant pilots should be female by 2020.

Initiatives have also been launched to encourage young women to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which can be useful for those looking to become a pilot.

Captain Kate McWilliams, an EasyJet employee, became the world’s youngest female airline captain at the age of 26. According to her, girls are put off thinking being a pilot is a technical job.

But a huge amount of it is being good with people. As a captain, you’re a people manager. There needs to be a change in perception around the job,” she was quoted as saying by the BBC.