Equal Employment Opportunity:

Women and Minority Representation at Interior, Agriculture, Navy, and State

GGD-95-211: Published: Sep 29, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the representation of women and minorities at the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture (USDA), Navy, and State as compared to the agencies' total workforce and the nation's civilian labor force (CLF); (2) these agencies' compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) affirmative employment planning instructions; and (3) the extent of EEOC and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) oversight of the agencies' affirmative employment and recruitment programs.

GAO found that: (1) between 1984 and 1992, the relative number of women and minorities increased in each agency, but certain equal employment opportunity (EEO) groups were underrepresented overall, particularly in key and higher grade positions when compared to the CLF; (2) underrepresentation in key jobs was more pronounced for white and minority women than for minority men; (3) the underrepresented EEO groups varied by agency; (4) white men still occupied 75 percent or more of the agencies' senior executive service or equivalent positions; (5) although women and minorities were hired and promoted into key agency jobs in greater numbers than their workforce representation, they also separated from the agencies at higher rates; (6) the agencies' multiyear affirmative employment planning programs did not fully comply with EEOC directives because the agencies considered the directives to be only guidelines, they lacked certain personnel data, senior managers were not involved in the plans' preparation, the agencies did not take the plans seriously, and EEOC approved incomplete plans; (7) those agencies that set employment goals did not link them to any particular underrepresention problem; (8) there were no formal mechanisms to hold agency heads and senior managers accountable for their agencies' EEO programs; and (9) OPM and EEOC did not provide sufficient oversight to ensure that the agencies' affirmative employment programs effectively corrected their workforce imbalances.

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