The Federal Workforce:

Additional Insights Could Enhance Agency Efforts Related to Hispanic Representation

GAO-06-832: Published: Aug 17, 2006. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 2006.

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Hispanic representation in the federal workforce has historically been lower than in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF). Understanding factors affecting representation is important to developing and maintaining a high-quality and inclusive workforce. In this report, GAO identifies and analyzes factors affecting Hispanic representation in the federal workforce, examines oversight roles of EEOC and OPM, and provides illustrations of selected federal agencies' efforts with respect to Hispanic representation. GAO constructed a multivariate logistic regression model, with advice from experts, to determine how factors affected the likelihood of Hispanics and non-Hispanics being in the federal versus nonfederal workforce. GAO's analyses are not intended to and do not show the existence or absence of discrimination in the federal workforce.

U.S. citizenship and educational attainment had the greatest effect, of the measurable factors we identified, on Hispanic representation in the federal workforce. Our statistical model showed that when accounting for citizenship, required for most federal employment, Hispanics were nearly as likely as non-Hispanics to be employed in the federal workforce, relative to the nonfederal workforce (the portion of the CLF excluding federal employees). In addition, the federal workforce has a greater proportion of occupations that require higher levels of education than the CLF. When we compared citizens with similar levels of education, Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanics to be employed in the federal workforce relative to the nonfederal workforce. Other factors in our model, including age, gender, race, veteran's status, English proficiency, and geography (state where employed), had a more limited or almost no effect on the likelihood of Hispanics being in the federal workforce. In addition to reporting and comparing representation levels overall and in subsets of the federal workforce to the CLF, EEOC and OPM require that agencies analyze their own workforces. However, the CLF benchmarks of representation that EEOC, OPM, and the agencies use do not differentiate between citizens and noncitizens, and therefore do not identify how citizenship affects the pool of persons qualified to work for the federal government. Where these analyses identify differences in representation, EEOC, for example, requires agencies to determine if there are barriers to participation and develop strategies to address them. OPM provides resources and guidance to assist agencies in implementing human capital strategies. Through these efforts, OPM has promoted the use of student employment programs as a source of qualified candidates. Analyzing agency use of these programs, including the extent to which agencies convert participants to permanent employment, could provide OPM with valuable information to assist agencies in maximizing the use of these programs in their strategic workforce planning. The agencies we reviewed use a variety of approaches to address Hispanic representation, including recruiting at colleges and universities with large Hispanic populations, publicizing employment opportunities in Hispanic media, reaching out to Hispanic communities and Hispanic-serving organizations, and using student employment, internship, career development, and training programs. For example, the U.S. Air Force partners with vocational-technical schools to develop aircraft maintenance technicians, and staff at selected National Aeronautics and Space Administration facilities mentor and tutor students to encourage careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On November 29, 2012, the Census Bureau released its 2006-2010 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation (formally known as the Census Special EEO File), which serves as the primary external benchmark for comparing the race, ethnicity, and gender composition of an organization's internal workforce with the analogous external labor market, within a specified geography and job category. At the direction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Justice, and Department of Labor (the four sponsoring agencies), the Census Bureau added citizenship as a comparator in the EEO Tabulation. Specifically, the Bureau included various civilian labor force (CLF) measures based on US citizens only (the change required by the recommendations). In January 2014, OPM issued a report, Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program for Fiscal Year 2014, to Congress. The report compares employment in the federal workforce by race, national origin, gender, and disability to the civilian labor force. In this report, OPM included a comparison to the citizenship-based CLF for Hispanics using data from the new EEO Tabulation.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should include citizenship in their annual comparisons of representation in the federal workforce to the CLF. To help ensure consistency, both agencies should agree upon a single source of citizenship data.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Open

    Comments: OPM has made progress in implementing this recommendation. In January 2013, OPM reintroduced its student employment programs, collectively known as the Pathways Programs. OPM is collecting data on the number of Hispanic appointments and conversions to permanent employment from these programs governmentwide and by agency. OPM plans to include these data in an upcoming report to be issued in Fiscal Year 2015. As such, until further agency action is taken, this recommendation remains open.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should assess the extent of participation by racial and ethnic groups in student employment programs--Student Career Experience Program (SCEP), Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP), and Presidential Management Fellows (PMF)--to help agencies maximize the use of these programs in their overall strategic workforce plan. This effort should include analyzing participation in, and conversion rates to, permanent positions from these programs and reporting governmentwide and agency-specific demographic data for the different racial and ethnic groups reflecting participation in, and rates of conversion to, permanent employment from these programs. These data are in addition to the data already reported on these programs in its reports, such as in its statistical reports on Hispanic employment and in the Fact Book.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On November 29, 2012, the Census Bureau released its 2006-2010 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation (formally known as the Census Special EEO File), which serves as the primary external benchmark for comparing the race, ethnicity, and gender composition of an organization's internal workforce with the analogous external labor market, within a specified geography and job category. At the direction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Justice, and Department of Labor (the four sponsoring agencies), the Census Bureau added citizenship as a comparator in the EEO Tabulation. Specifically, the Bureau included various civilian labor force (CLF) measures based on U.S. citizens only (the change required by the recommendations) in the EEO Tabulation. Then, in July 2013, EEOC instructed federal agencies to account for citizenship in their Management Directive (MD)-715 analyses, which compare representation levels to CLF benchmarks. This comparison is one method of identifying potential barriers to EEO. To assist agencies in using the new EEO Tabulation, EEOC drafted guidance and conducted four free webinars on how to retrieve and analyze these data, noting that agencies must use the citizenship filter for all MD-715 tables. EEOC used the citizenship-based CLF from the new EEO Tabulation as the national CLF benchmark in fiscal year 2013 MD-715 tables, which serve as the basis for EEOC?s annual comparison of representation in the federal workforce to the CLF.

    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) should include citizenship in their annual comparisons of representation in the federal workforce to the CLF. To help ensure consistency, both agencies should agree upon a single source of citizenship data.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On November 29, 2012, the Census Bureau released its 2006-2010 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation (formally known as the Census Special EEO File), which serves as the primary external benchmark for comparing the race, ethnicity, and gender composition of an organization's internal workforce with the analogous external labor market, within a specified geography and job category. At the direction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Justice, and Department of Labor (the four sponsoring agencies), the Census Bureau added citizenship as a comparator in the EEO Tabulation. Specifically, the Bureau included various civilian labor force (CLF) measures based on US citizens only (the change required by the recommendations). In January 2014, OPM issued a report, Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program for Fiscal Year 2014, to Congress. The report compares employment in the federal workforce by race, national origin, gender, and disability to the civilian labor force. In this report, OPM included a comparison to the citizenship-based CLF for Hispanics using data from the new EEO Tabulation.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM and the Chair of EEOC should work with other Consortium agencies and the Census Bureau to incorporate citizenship data into the 2010 Census Special EEO File and incorporate such data into analyses under MD-715, FEORP, and Executive Order No. 13171.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On November 29, 2012, the Census Bureau released its 2006-2010 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Tabulation (formally known as the Census Special EEO File), which serves as the primary external benchmark for comparing the race, ethnicity, and gender composition of an organization's internal workforce with the analogous external labor market, within a specified geography and job category. At the direction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Justice, and Department of Labor (the four sponsoring agencies), the Census Bureau added citizenship as a comparator in the EEO Tabulation. Specifically, the Bureau included various civilian labor force (CLF) measures based on U.S. citizens only (the change required by the recommendations) in the EEO Tabulation. Then, in July 2013, EEOC instructed federal agencies to account for citizenship in their Management Directive (MD)-715 analyses, which compare representation levels to CLF benchmarks. This comparison is one method of identifying potential barriers to EEO. To assist agencies in using the new EEO Tabulation, EEOC drafted guidance and conducted four free webinars on how to retrieve and analyze these data, noting that agencies must use the citizenship filter for all MD-715 tables. EEOC used the citizenship-based CLF from the new EEO Tabulation as the national CLF benchmark in fiscal year 2013 MD-715 tables, which serve as the basis for EEOC's annual comparison of representation in the federal workforce to the CLF.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM and the Chair of EEOC should work with other Consortium agencies and the Census Bureau to incorporate citizenship data into the 2010 Census Special EEO File and incorporate such data into analyses under MD-715, FEORP, and Executive Order No. 13171.

    Agency Affected: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

 

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