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News Release

Monday, March 22, 2004
Contact: Brenda Bertrand
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Report shows Federal Government Continues to Lead Private Sector in Employing Minorities and Women

Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP) Report Reveals Increased Representation of Women as Federal Executives and Managers

Washington, D.C. – Overall, minorities are better represented in the Federal work force than in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF) according to the Federal Equal Opportunity Recruitment Program (FEORP) report issued by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The report shows the Federal Government as a leader in providing employment opportunities to minorities during the last year with the total representation increasing from 470,827 (31.1 percent) in 2002 to 471,691 (31.3 percent) in 2003, despite a work force decline of 6,665 employees during the same year.

Women are also finding the Federal government the employer of choice. The FEORP report notes overall gains made by women in professional and administrative positions rose 9,395 (2.6 percent), from 356,289 in 2002 to 365,684 in 2003. Overall, women in professional occupations in the Federal work force increased by 2.4 percent, and women in technical occupations represented 61.1 percent of the work force in that category.

"Federal agencies have placed an emphasis on creating a work force based on excellence that draws from all sectors of American society,” said OPM Director Kay Coles James. "This year's report shows the results from our commitment to recruit a more diverse Federal work force. It also shows ways that agencies can continue outreach efforts in Hispanic and other minority communities, to ensure that the Federal workplace is one that welcomes and thrives on a standard rooted in excellence. While the results are positive our commitment to recruitment and advancement, performance and excellence must continue."

The Federal government is providing women with career and pay advancement opportunities according to the FEORP report. In the highest pay levels of government, the number of women represented in the general schedule pay system increased by 4.5 percent and the number of women represented in the senior pay levels increased by 2.5 percent.

Long-term occupational trends also show women moving out of clerical and blue-collar occupations into careers which lead to higher grades. The report shows the percentage of women in the top three grades of the General Schedule (GS-13 to GS-15) through the Senior Executive Service and other executive levels jumped by 4,976 from 109,819 (32.4 percent) in 2002 to 114,795 (33.0 percent) in 2003, while the percentage of minorities at the same levels rose 3,619 from 69,623 (20.5 percent) in 2002 to 73,242 (21.1 percent) in 2003 in the same period.

In 2003, African American women represented 10.9 percent of the Federal work force as opposed to just 5.5 percent of the Civilian Labor Force. Also, the representation of women in the Federal Work Force (FW) met or exceeded their representation in the Relevant Civilian Labor Force (RCLF) in 11 out of 21 agencies and in 7 of 18 executive departments. Hispanic women represented 2.9 percent of the FW in 2003, the same as in 2002.

As the government's diversity numbers increase, overall Hispanic representation is also on a steady rise. Although Hispanic employees represented 7.0 percent (105,921) of the permanent Federal Workforce (FW) as of September 30, 2003, compared to 13.1 percent in the Civilian Labor Force (CLF), and Hispanic employment in administrative occupations increased by 2,955 from 33,861 in 2002 to 36,816 in 2003.  Hispanics made up 7.0 percent of all Federal employees in this occupational category in 2003, compared to 6.6 percent in 2002.

Director James chairs an Interagency Hispanic Task Force composed of senior agency officials to address these issues in their agencies. James also submits an annual report to the President on the progress of Hispanic employment in all Federal agencies. The agency’s efforts have contributed to the promising results as highlighted in hiring and retention trends of minorities in the FEORP report.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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