Asians, whites best paid in federal government

Wednesday - 3/21/2012, 2:58pm EDT

Salaries in the federal workforce vary depending on race and ethnicity, according to a report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Within the General Schedule and related pay systems, Asians in federal government make the most compared with other racial and ethnic groups. The average GS level for Asian feds is 10.6 and the average salary is $53,400 — nearly $3,000 more than their white counterparts and nearly $10,000 more than Native Americans and Native Hawaiians in federal government. In comparison, the average GS employee is a 10.1 grade and makes $45,771.

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An analysis by Federal News Radio found the General Schedule workforce generally reflects the national population when it comes to racial and ethnic breakdowns. However, diversity decreases at the senior executive level.

The EEOC report found diversity hiring generally held steady from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2010. Progress has been slightly more marked with women, Latinos, blacks and Asians have making the biggest gains in securing senior-level positions, according to an EEOC release. However, hiring of Latinos, multiracial men and white women remains below the overall national workforce averages, the release said.

Also, in the last decade, the percentage of blacks in the federal workforce has decreased, from 8.11 percent of black men in 2001 to 7.68 percent in 2010, and from 10.63 percent of black women in 2001 to 10.26 percent in 2010.

"This report shows that while the federal government is a leader in employing a diverse workforce, specific areas for improvement remain," said EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien in a statement.

EEOC also found hiring of people with targeted disabilities held steady at 0.88 percent from the previous year after a decade of steady decline. "Despite a modest net gain of 554 employees in FY 2010, individuals with targeted disabilities still fell far short of the 2 percent goal set by EEOC's LEAD Initiative," the report said.

The report comes a week after agencies' deadline to turn in diversity plans per President Obama's executive order to increase the hiring, retaining and promoting of people from a wide range of backgrounds.

The report examined agencies' incorporation of the EEO program into hiring and retention. Two-thirds of nearly 200 agencies reviewed posted "reasonable accommodation procedures" on their websites, and 91 percent of agencies evaluate managers on EEO.

"If agencies do not measure their managers' and supervisors' performance on this element, it will be difficult to assess whether they are managing in such a way as to ensure equality and diversity in the workplace," the report said.

A Federal News Radio survey found the perception of diversity at an agency depended on the person's gender and ethnicity. For example, white men were more likely than women or people who identified themselves as non-white to say that efforts to increase diversity detract from really important issues.

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