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Feds should improve retention efforts to boost workforce diversity, EEOC says

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EEOC report shows federal workforce diversity progress, room for improvement

According to an update from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on March 23, 2020, Hispanic women and people with disabilities in the federal workforce made significant progress. However, the EEOC pointed out that some inequities still exist. Most demographic groups had higher participation rates in lower positions and pay levels, except for White men, Hispanic men, and Asian men and women, who had higher participation in senior executive levels. The EEOC recommended better recruitment, retention, and advancement opportunities for all levels, especially in higher-level positions.

As the federal government is the largest employer in the country with over 2 million employees, the EEOC report may provide insights into trends at companies nationwide. The report found that most groups by race/ethnicity and gender participated in the federal workforce at higher rates than in the civilian labor force. However, some groups had rates below that level, such as White women and men, and women of two or more races. In contrast, Hispanic and Latina women saw an increase in participation rates from FY 2016 to FY 2020.

Participation rates also increased for persons with disabilities (PWD) and persons with targeted disabilities (PWTD) associated with high rates of unemployment and underemployment. However, the increases were still below the federal sector goals of 12% for PWD and 2% for PWTD. Additionally, compliance with a direct reporting structure showed mixed results, with about 37% of federal agencies not having the agency head as the immediate supervisor of the EEO director.

The EEOC report serves as a reminder that employers can take steps to create a more inclusive workplace for everyone, even as return-to-work plans and hybrid schedules continue to shift, especially as the Americans with Disabilities Act celebrates its 33rd anniversary in July.

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