Equal Opportunity:

Achieving Representation of Minorities and Women in the Federal Work Force

FPCD-81-5: Published: Dec 3, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 1980.

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The Civil Service Reform Act made federal agencies responsible for establishing recruiting programs to eliminate underrepresentation of minorities and women in the federal work force. The act required the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to establish guidelines for agencies to use in carrying out the program and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to issue regulations implementing a minority recruitment program. OPM required agencies to develop and have in operation by October 1, 1979, plans for eliminating underrepresentation of minorities and women. As of January 1980, about 70 percent of the agencies were still developing plans.

Several policy issues need to be resolved which will affect the direction of the government's efforts to recruit, hire, and promote minorities and women in sufficient numbers to achieve a representative work force. These issues include: (1) how the labor force of the United States is to be defined; (2) how to use the civilian labor force for measuring underrepresentation for the recruitment program; and (3) how to integrate the use of the civilian labor force into the affirmative action goal-setting process. OPM and EEOC need to work together to successfully resolve these issues. None of the eight agencies which GAO reviewed had operational recruitment plans in place by October 1, 1979, because of late program guidance, significant data collection requirements, and uncertainty over program relationship to other programs. During the first year, neither OPM nor EEOC fully discharged their responsibilities for evaluating the recruitment program. Because few plans had been developed and implemented, the annual report was a status report on the program which did not address the program's effectiveness. OPM and EEOC need to coordinate their activities to assure a clear understanding of their respective responsibilities, eliminate potential duplicative efforts, and minimize the burden the two programs place on agencies. They need to clearly delineate who reviews guidance and what actions must be taken to resolve conflicts. The two agencies have not fully coordinated their evaluation efforts and differ on their approaches to measuring underrepresentation.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, and the Chairman, EEOC, should (1) clarify their respective responsibilities for managing Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP), which would include determining the authority for respective responsibilities and the actions each agency must take when issuing and modifying regulations and guidelines; (2) clarify common evaluation responsibilities and how they will be coordinated to eliminate duplication and inconsistency; (3) identify and eliminate inconsistencies between the recruitment program and the Affirmative Action Program so that FEORP becomes an effective element of affirmative action plans; and (4) examine the data requirements for recruitment plans and determine what data can be used from OPM's Central Personnel Data File to minimize agencies' data burden and allow agencies more time to develop and implement the plans.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, and the Chairman, EEOC, should work with federal agencies to gather appropriate occupational data for relevant labor markets for various federal occupations. This data should be collected by each SMSA, each state, and the country.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, and the Chairman, EEOC, should work with federal agencies to gather appropriate occupational data for relevant labor markets for various federal occupations. This data should be collected by each SMSA, each state, and the country.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, EEOC, should amend the affirmative action guidelines to include appropriate occupational data and time frames as the baseline for establishing short-term and intermediate-range hiring goals.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, and the Chairman, EEOC, should (1) clarify their respective responsibilities for managing Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP), which would include determining the authority for respective responsibilities and the actions each agency must take when issuing and modifying regulations and guidelines; (2) clarify common evaluation responsibilities and how they will be coordinated to eliminate duplication and inconsistency; (3) identify and eliminate inconsistencies between the recruitment program and the Affirmative Action Program so that FEORP becomes an effective element of affirmative action plans; and (4) examine the data requirements for recruitment plans and determine what data can be used from OPM's Central Personnel Data File to minimize agencies' data burden and allow agencies more time to develop and implement the plans.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

    Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

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