IRS management is relatively diverse, IG finds

The Internal Revenue Service is strong in Senior Executive Service diversity, a new report has found.

Among senior executives, the IRS "was more diverse than other federal agencies" in eight of 12 of the Office of Personnel Management's diversity categories, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report released Wednesday.

Drawing on fiscal 2009 hiring data that took race, gender and disability into account, the report also found the IRS had proportionately more female executives than the rest of the federal government, with 44.1 percent compared to 30.8 percent for all federal agencies.

In fiscal 2009, white males comprised 40.8 percent of the IRS' senior executive staff, a drop from 50.4 percent in fiscal 2004, with the percent change redistributed among other diversity categories. By contrast, 58.6 percent of all federal senior executives in fiscal 2009 were white males.

Though the IRS has different levels of SES employees, the report does not distinguish between them, said Michael R. Phillips, Deputy Inspector General for Audit at TIGTA.

"TIGTA included all SES when determining the percentages to compare with the rest of the federal government," Phillips wrote in an email to Government Executive.

The 12 diversity categories OPM measures are gender-divided among white, black, Latino, Asian/Pacific, Native American and disabled employees.

TIGTA credited the diversity success to support from the IRS commissioner and other top-level executives, as well as its adoption of performance measures, including an awards program set up by the wage and investment division that "recognizes outstanding achievement in [Equal Employment Opportunity] and diversity."

In the report, TIGTA made three recommendations to IRS management: add the diversity practices to specific internal policies, partner with federal executive organizations and gain further insight into diversity issues, and help minority employees into higher level positions via professional executive organizations.

Management agreed with all three recommendations and gave implementation deadlines for each ranging from late February to late December.

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