Human Capital:

Workforce Diversity Governmentwide and at the Small Business Administration

GAO-08-725T: Published: Apr 23, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 2008.

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George H. Stalcup
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Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of the civilian labor force, which is defined as those 16 and older (including federal workers) who are employed or looking for work and are not in the military or institutionalized. In August 2006, GAO reported on factors affecting Hispanic representation in the federal workforce and efforts being taken by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and other agencies, including the Small Business Administration (SBA)--an independent agency that aids, counsels, assists, and protects the interests of small business concerns (GAO-06-832). In May 2007, GAO issued a report that contained data on Hispanic representation in the federal government through fiscal year 2006 (GAO-07-493R). In April 2008, GAO testified on diversity in the Senior Executive Service (SES) and the senior ranks of the U.S. Postal Service (GAO-08-609T). In response to a request to provide updated information on minorities and Hispanics in the federal workforce, GAO is providing demographic data--with an emphasis on Hispanic representation--related to the federal government as a whole and SBA's workforce. GAO obtained these data from OPM's Central Personnel Data File (CPDF).

Data in OPM's CPDF show that Hispanic representation governmentwide for permanent and nonpermanent employees increased from 6.6 percent in 2000 to 7.7 percent in 2007. At SBA, Hispanic representation for 2007 among permanent and nonpermanent employees was 8.6 percent, which exceeded Hispanic representation governmentwide, but represented a decline from 9.7 percent in 2000. For the SES, the highest nonpolitically appointed leaders in the federal workforce, GAO recently looked more closely at the workforce diversity of those who were career, or permanent, appointments (GAO-08-609T). Data in OPM's CPDF show that as of September 2007, the overall percentages of women and minorities, including Hispanics, have increased in the career SES governmentwide and the SES developmental pool for potential successors since October 2000. As part of GAO's recent analysis of the diversity of the SES and the SES developmental pool, GAO looked more closely at career, or permanent, SES appointments at federal agencies, including SBA. Unlike the increase in the number of career SES governmentwide and those in the SES developmental pool for potential successors for October 2000 through September 2007, the number of career SES and those in the SES developmental pool at SBA declined. For this testimony, GAO did not analyze the factors that contributed to changes in SBA's workforce from October 2000 through September 2007. However, OPM and EEOC in their oversight roles require federal agencies, including SBA, to analyze their workforces. As part of a strategic human capital planning approach, agencies need to develop long-term strategies for acquiring, developing, motivating, and retaining staff. An agency's human capital planning should address the demographic trends that the agency faces with its workforce, especially retirements.

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