Agencies increase minorities in workforce

Friday - 6/10/2011, 6:12pm EDT

By Ruben Gomez
Federal News Radio

The federal government in 2010 increased the number of minority employees on its payroll by more than 31,000, according to the Office of Personnel Management.

OPM's annual Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program Report to Congress showed the number of minorities exceeded 647,000, an increase of 5 percent compared with statistics from 2009. Minorities made up about 34 percent of the federal workforce in 2010.

The percentage of women in the government workforce fell slightly, by 0.3 percent, to about 44 percent. However, women and minorities made gains in senior pay levels, the report said:

  • 6,839 women in senior pay levels, a 7.9 percent increase
  • 4,059 minorities in senior pay levels, a 9.4 percent increase

It remains unclear what fueled the increase, the report said. "However, some of the increase is due to agencies transitioning from pay-for-performance systems (e.g., the National Security Personnel System in the case of Department of Defense) to the General Schedule system. The agencies transitioned employees from the pay-for-performance system to the General Schedule system based on duties and responsibilities, which in some cases resulted in positions being classified at the Senior Pay Level."

OPM has directed its Executive Resources and Employee Development Office to work to "increase diversity and leadership in the Senior Executive Service (SES) by, among other things, assisting agencies as they increase the diversity and talent in the SES applicant pools," director John Berry wrote in the report's introduction.