The percentage of women, blacks and other minorities in professional and managerial jobs nearly doubled between 1970 and 1980, according to a new study, which cites federal affirmative action programs as a major factor.

The study by the Potomac Institute, which describes itself as an "independent, nonprofit organization concerned with equality of opportunity in American life," reports that government statistics show:

Among "officials and managers," blacks rose from 1.9 percent in 1970 to 4 percent in 1980, women from 10.2 percent to 18.5 percent, and Hispanics from 1 percent to 2.2 percent. In the "professional" category, blacks rose from 2.5 percent to 4.3 percent over the decade, women from 24.6 percent to 37.2 percent and Hispanics from 1.1 percent to 1.9 percent.

From 1970 to 1980, blacks and other minorities boosted their share of construction trade apprentice slots from 10.6 percent to 19.3 percent.

Blacks and other minorities in executive-level federal jobs increased from 2.3 percent to 7 percent, in GS15 jobs from 3.3 percent to 8 percent, in GS14 jobs from 3.9 to 7.6 percent and in GS13 jobs from 4.2 percent to 9.1 percent. For women, the share rose from 1.5 percent of executive-level jobs to 6.2 percent, from 3.4 percent of GS 15s to 6.5 percent and from 3.6 percent of GS 14s to 6.8 percent.

The increase in women holding higher-level jobs was attributed in part to their increased numbers in the work force. But Herbert Hammerman, a private consultant and former staff member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who conducted the study, said of the gains for minorities and women, "I am totally convinced it would not have happened without the affirmative action programs."

Hammerman cited studies by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, which runs the affirmative action enforcement program for government contractors, showing that the proportion of minorities increased substantially faster in firms that had government contracts -- and therefore were directly subject to government affirmative action enforcement -- than in firms that did not have such contracts.

Between 1974 and 1980, for example, the proportion of minority workers in firms with government contracts rose by a fifth, compared with an eighth in those without government contracts.