Hispanic Representation in the Federal Workforce

There’s really no way to improve upon this latest post on the ERE Blog regarding the recruitment and retention of Hispanics in the Federal workforce. John Bersentes and Mark Havard have done an excellent job in presenting the issues, the trends, and the potential opportunities in this area. John and I had emailed a few times months ago while he was in the middle of researching this article. I provided my own insights but it’s obvious that he spoke to many more people during his research process.  The following passage was most consequential for me:

Why is the Federal government’s track record of recruiting and developing Hispanic employees so bad?

Across the board, the feds have managed to achieve only 7.8% participation by Hispanics in the government workforce. And the news gets worse: Hispanic men and women today represent only 3.6% of individuals at federal senior pay levels — a proportion that drops to 2.5% when you take political appointees out of the calculation.  These numbers are puzzling, to say the least. The government has traditionally been the standard-bearer for minority participation in the workforce. Consider African-Americans: they make up 13% percent of the U.S. population and — according to the latest available count (2008) — more than 18% of the Federal workforce. Certainly we should credit most of this progress to vigorous initiatives by Federal agencies, beginning in the early 1970s, to recruit and retain talented African-Americans. But when it comes to leveling the playing field for Hispanics in government, today’s recruitment initiatives appear to be yielding only marginal gains at best, and in some cases they are barely holding the line against attrition.

The article provides an overview of seven recommendations going forward that federal agencies might consider to reverse and begin to improve the lack of Hispanic representation. The full article will be available in March.