Posted on April 26, 2010

Study: Percentage of Latinos in Federal Workforce Remains Flat

Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post, April 23, 2010


Hispanics accounted for 8 percent of federal workers in the year that ended June 30, about five percentage points lower than the 13.2 percent of Latinos employed across the country’s civilian workforce, according to a report by the Office of Personnel Management. The percentage of new Hispanic hires dropped to 7.3 percent, down two percentage points from 2008. But the overall number of Latinos in the government climbed to 144,288, up from 137,767 in June 2008. The overall percentage remained flat because the government made other hires and retained a high number of Hispanics, the OPM said.

“The federal government is not fully tapping the talent in the Hispanic community for public service,” the report concluded.

National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia agreed, calling the findings “unbelievable.”


Jorge E. Ponce, co-chairman of the Council of Federal EEO and Civil Rights Executives, said that years worth of “blue ribbon commissions, tiger teams, work groups and the generation of voluminous reports and strategic plans” have yielded few gains.


Ponce’s statement strikes at the heart of a pledge made frequently by OPM Director John Berry to make the federal government the nation’s “model employer.” In a letter to President Obama accompanying the report, Berry said the new numbers signal that “there is room for improvement.” The report said the OPM has established three offices to recruit and retain more Hispanic workers, with a special focus on promoting Latinos into the Senior Executive Service and recruiting Hispanic college students. Berry also noted that Obama has appointed a higher number of Hispanics to political positions than previous administrations.


OPM Deputy Director Christine M. Griffin noted that her agency cannot force or mandate hiring numbers for other agencies but said her colleagues are working on hiring changes with a special focus on disabled Americans, military veterans and minorities.

“Diversity is a piece of all of this. That’s one of the things we’re making sure we think about and how it permeates everything,” Griffin said in an interview.

This year’s OPM study follows a February report by congressional staffers that found the Senate has one Latino chief of staff and one Latino committee staff director and that Latinos account for just 5.6 percent of House staffers. Congressional leaders have launched diversity efforts in hopes of hiring more minorities across Capitol Hill.

{snip} DHS and its 23 components generally hire a larger number of Hispanics, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a higher percentage of Latinos than any other agency. {snip}