The Washington Post

Federal Latino and disability employment increases

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released two reports regarding diversity in federal employment that should not escape notice in the Federal Eye.


The reports on Hispanics and people with disabilities, released in late July, show noteworthy increases in employment, particularly among Latinos in the Senior Executive Service.

The percentage of new SES hires who are Hispanic jumped to 5.4 percent in fiscal 2011, from 2.7 percent the year before, a significant increase. The increase in federal Latino employment overall was insignificant, from 8 percent in 2010 to 8.1 percent last year.

“A 0.1 percent increase in Hispanic employment in the federal workforce in four years is not change to brag about,” said Jorge E. Ponce, co-president of the Council of Federal EEO & Civil Rights Executives. “Nevertheless, I'm glad of the Hispanic increase at the SES ranks. While the numeric increase in Hispanics in the SES ranks is small, it is progress in the right direction.”

Among 23 large departments and agencies, five had percentage declines in their Hispanic employment, although the actual number of Latinos increased in four of those agencies.

Ironically, perhaps, it is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where, from 2010 to 2011, the number and percentage of Hispanics fell — from 344 to 328 and 13.7 percent to 13.4 percent.

“We need to cultivate, foster and develop a workplace that is both diverse and inclusive — a workplace that sustains that diverse and inclusive culture over time,” OPM Director John Berry said in a letter transmitting the report to President Obama.

The report on people with disabilities says their percentage of new hires rose from 10.3 percent in 2010 to 14.7 percent in 2011. Their percentage of the federal workforce grew from 10.7 percent to 11 percent.

“More than 200,000 people with disabilities now work for the federal government,” OPM said, adding: “The most in 20 years.”

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.


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