Affirmative Action:

Social Security Can Do More To Improve Blacks' Representation in Its Work Force

HRD-87-2: Published: Jan 2, 1987. Publicly Released: Jan 2, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO discussed: (1) the effect of the affirmative action plan at Social Security Administration (SSA) headquarters on the representation of blacks in some job series; (2) how SSA developed and implemented affirmative action plans; and (3) whether SSA planning and reporting complied with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requirements.

GAO found that: (1) although the overall ratio of blacks employed at SSA headquarters increased from 1982 to 1985, black men were generally underrepresented in the organizational components and job series reviewed; (2) SSA did not fully comply with affirmative action requirements in compiling and analyzing race and sex profile data for each stage of the selection process to fill vacant positions; (3) SSA did not fully implement an agency-wide affirmative-action plan because lower-level plans did not address the same mainstream job series; (4) SSA has not issued a report on its planned study to identify artificial barriers to the advancement of underrepresented groups in the work force; and (5) components' annual accomplishment reports did not include information on minority skills development activities.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SSA components have been directed to include formal skills development activities in their annual accomplishment reports relating to affirmative employment plans.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to request SSA organizational components to include data in the annual accomplishment reports on skills development activities, such as individual development plans, bridge position reassignments, and training opportunities for targeted underrepresented minority groups.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: SSA issued guidance to all components and regional offices requiring that complete applicant floor data be collected for all stages of the internal selection process in regard to vacancy announcements.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to bring the affirmative action program into compliance with EEOC directives by requiring that SSA compile race and sex profile data for all stages of the internal selection process, including data on all qualified applicants, best-qualified candidates, and selectees for job vacancies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation and stated that enough information was provided by its components in the annual accomplishment/update reports.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to require components to report affirmative action accomplishments with sufficient information to determine whether affirmative action goals and objectives were achieved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation and stated that components' affirmative action plans were already integrated into the SSA-wide plan.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to integrate the SSA-wide affirmative action plan into components' plans, especially in regard to identifying mainstream job series and establishing hiring, promotion, and reassignment goals.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: According to SSA Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Office officials, no additional barrier analysis studies were conducted during FY 1989. SSA issued revised guidance on: (1) identifying artificial barriers that adversely affect the advancement of minority groups; and (2) preparing related reports.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner of Social Security to bring the affirmative action program into compliance with EEOC directives by requiring that SSA identify and act to reduce or eliminate artificial barriers that adversely affect the advancement of underrepresented minority groups.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

 

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