Agencies increase proportion of Hispanics in workforce

Friday - 7/27/2012, 5:47pm EDT

High retention rates pushed the proportion of Hispanics in the federal government slightly upward in 2011, the Office of Personnel Management said Thursday.

Hispanics made up 8.1 percent of the civilian federal workforce, a small increase over 8 percent in the two previous years, according to OPM's latest "Annual Report on Hispanic Employment in the Federal Government." In all, agency payrolls included 157,693 Hispanic employees, making them the second largest minority group in the government. Black employees accounted for 18 percent of the workforce.

In addition, the percentage of Hispanic permanent new hires joining the Senior Executive Service doubled to 5.7 percent, or 19 employees, the report said. The finding supports the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's conclusion in March that agencies have increased the percentage of minorities in senior jobs. However, the overall number of SES new hires dropped by more than five percent.

The Homeland Security Department continued to employ the largest percentage of Hispanics, who accounted for nearly 21 of every 100 employees, the report said.

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The proportion of Hispanics in the federal workforce has increased steadily since 2000, when they represented 6.5 of every 100 employees.

OPM's annual report examined just one segment of a governmentwide effort to increase the proportion of minorities in federal employment. That initiative includes strategic diversity plans required by executive order 13583, "Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce."

"OPM is working with executive departments and agencies to develop and implement a more comprehensive, integrated and strategic focus on diversity and inclusion as a key component of their human resources strategies," OPM Director John Berry wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama. "This approach includes efforts to identify and adopt best practices, implemented in an integrated manner, to promote diversity and remove barriers to equal employment opportunity, consistent with merit system principles and applicable law."

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