Equal Employment Opportunity

Women and Minority Representation at Interior, Agriculture, Navy, and State Gao ID: GGD-95-211 September 29, 1995

The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Navy, and State have made progress in improving women and minority representation in their workforces. However, some groups are still underrepresented on an overall basis and often underrepresented to a greater degree in key jobs. Also, although the numbers of women and minorities in key jobs increased across all white-collar grade and management levels, as of 1992 these groups continued to be less well represented in the higher grades at agencies. Furthermore, the four agencies' milder affirmative employment planning program analyses did not completely address each of the eight required program elements set forth by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) Management Directive 714. For example, none of the four completely analyzed its recruitment and hiring, promotions, or separations program elements, all of which are needed to identify the basic causes of underrepresentation. Finally, neither the Office of Personnel Management nor EEOC provided the oversight needed to ensure that agencies' affirmative employment program could effectively correct imbalances in their workforces.

GAO found that: (1) between 1984 and 1992, the relative number of women and minorities increased in each agency, but certain equal employment opportunity (EEO) groups were underrepresented overall, particularly in key and higher grade positions when compared to the CLF; (2) underrepresentation in key jobs was more pronounced for white and minority women than for minority men; (3) the underrepresented EEO groups varied by agency; (4) white men still occupied 75 percent or more of the agencies' senior executive service or equivalent positions; (5) although women and minorities were hired and promoted into key agency jobs in greater numbers than their workforce representation, they also separated from the agencies at higher rates; (6) the agencies' multiyear affirmative employment planning programs did not fully comply with EEOC directives because the agencies considered the directives to be only guidelines, they lacked certain personnel data, senior managers were not involved in the plans' preparation, the agencies did not take the plans seriously, and EEOC approved incomplete plans; (7) those agencies that set employment goals did not link them to any particular underrepresention problem; (8) there were no formal mechanisms to hold agency heads and senior managers accountable for their agencies' EEO programs; and (9) OPM and EEOC did not provide sufficient oversight to ensure that the agencies' affirmative employment programs effectively corrected their workforce imbalances.

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