USPS Diversity Efforts Mixed
USPS Diversity Efforts Mixed
Although the U.S. Postal Service employs a highly diverse workforce in terms of ethnicity, it is still struggling to tackle a range of diversity issues, according to a report commissioned by the postal service's Board of Governors.
"For the most part, most minority groups are represented in numbers that either equal or exceed those of the civilian labor force, with Hispanics and Native Americans/Alaskan Natives being represented in slightly smaller numbers than the overall population," the report said.
While blacks represent 10 percent of the civilian labor force, they are 21 percent of postal employees. Hispanics, on the other hand, represent 8 percent of civilian workers, but only 6 percent of postal workers. While 66 percent of postal workers are white, 78 percent of civilian workers are.
As for gender, African-American women outnumber men, while other gender distributions are close to even in the postal workforce, according to the report.
"The USPS stands out as a leader in meeting affirmative action goals and in striving for parity be the civilian force and the demographics of its own workforce," concluded the study, performed by Aguirre International.
Despite these findings, the report found that all postal sites surveyed "struggled in their efforts to implement diversity programs successfully."
The report said lack of leadership, lack of funding and internal conflict prevented the Postal Service from carrying out a comprehensive diversity program.
"Diversity is seen as an 'add-on,' especially since there are no consequences for managers who fail to address diversity issues," the report said.
One particular problem, the report concluded, is that women and minorities still have limited opportunities for promotions. "It appears that a glass ceiling exists at EAS level 17 which impedes the progress of women and all racial/ethnic groups other than white males," the report said.
The report also concluded that the number and value of minority business contracts granted by postal officials have fallen in recent years. The report attributed this decline to the agency's failure to enforce its own rules requiring contractors to subcontract some of their work to minority firms and to the lack of clout diversity officers have in the Postal Service.
Employee perceptions also apparently impede the diversity development process. Only half of the postal workers interviewed by phone said they had a clear understanding of the USPS definition of diversity and only 24 percent felt that the USPS had a clear and effective diversity program.
Based on the study's findings, the Postal Service is implementing a five-year action plan targeting the following areas: diversity development, hiring and promotions, training and development and contracting.
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