Women, minorities inch up federal ranks

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The federal workforce looked pretty much the same in fiscal 2011 and fiscal 2010, according to a new report from the Office of Personnel Management.

Women and minorities continued to make small gains in senior-level federal jobs, and there are still more minorities overall working in government than in the national labor force. Minorities overall constituted 34.1 percent of the federal workforce in fiscal 2011 and 30 percent of the national workforce. Hiring Hispanics continues to be a challenge for the government, however. The group made up 8.1 percent of the federal government in fiscal 2011 compared to 13.6 percent of the national workforce that year. Hispanics were 8.0 percent of the government workforce in fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010, and 13.6 percent of the private labor force in those years.

Whites made up 65.9 percent of the federal government’s workforce in 2011, slightly less than the 66.2 percent in fiscal 2010.

The overall percentage of women in the federal workforce in fiscal 2011 remained more or less flat, with women constituting 43.6 percent compared to 46 percent of the national labor force. The government employs fewer females than it did in fiscal 2009, when women constituted 44.2 percent of the total federal workforce. Men represented 56.4 percent of the federal workforce in fiscal 2011. Women continued to make gains in professional and white-collar occupations in fiscal 2011, representing 45.6 percent and 47.2 percent of the total federal workforce in those categories, respectively.

Among minorities, more blacks joined the professional ranks in fiscal 2011 compared to fiscal 2010. The increase was incremental: 10.6 percent in fiscal 2011 compared to 10.4 percent in fiscal 2010. Many women and minorities are still performing jobs in the government’s clerical, administrative and technical fields.

The rate of hiring employees with disabilities increased, growing 1.66 percent from fiscal 2009 to fiscal 2011, according to OPM.

In a message accompanying the report, OPM Director John Berry emphasized the federal government's efforts to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, including veterans and employees with disabilities. President Obama has issued at least three executive orders during the last few years to that end.

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