Intelligence agencies collectively are less diverse than other federal agencies or the overall U.S. workforce, and women and minorities are especially under-represented at senior levels, according to data released Friday.
Intelligence agencies “struggle to recruit talented officers who mirror the diverse country they serve,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in what it called the first public release of demographics that until now existed only in classified reports.
“Despite significant efforts, the IC [intelligence community] has not substantially increased the number of minority employees over time,” the announcement said. Those efforts include recruiting at targeted career fairs, grants to colleges, scholarships for individual students, and workforce development programs.
The report added that Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. urged participants at a recent intelligence community summit on diversity to produce recommendations within 90 days.
The report collates data from six major intelligence agencies, such as the CIA and National Security Agency, and 11 intelligence components of other departments, including Defense, Energy, Treasury and Homeland Security. It does not provide breakdowns by individual agency, nor does it give a total count of employment in such positions.
But it says that “to be successful against increasingly complex global threats, the IC must employ and develop a dynamic, agile workforce that reflects diversity in its broadest context and includes all aspects that make individuals unique and America strong. This includes, but is not limited to, race, culture, heritage, gender, age, religion, language skills, differing abilities, sexual orientation and gender identity, ideas, and perspectives.”
The share of minorities in the intelligence community increased from 23.2 percent in fiscal year 2011 to 24.9 percent in fiscal year 2015, which ended in September.
In comparison, the overall percentage of minorities in federal workplace is 35.3 percent, according to the latest OPM data, which cover the prior fiscal year. At that time, minorities accounted for 32.5 percent of the overall American workforce, that report said.
Women hold 38.5 percent of intelligence community jobs — virtually the same as the 38.6 percent in 2011 — vs. 43.2 percent government-wide and 46.1 percent in the overall workforce. However, women earned 43.9 percent of intelligence community promotions and 46.8 percent of the honorary awards in 2015.
Meanwhile, minorities are “represented at less than expected frequencies, with regard to promotions, awards, selected educational development programs, and joint duty assignments,” the report said.
At senior levels only 12.3 percent are minorities and only 28.4 percent are women. The report did not provide 2011 statistics for comparison.
Further, 7.9 percent of intelligence community employees are considered to have disabilities, up from 5.3 percent in 2011. They held 4.3 percent of senior positions. The report did not say how disability was defined.
An Office of Personnel Management report, which defines disability as an impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, said the percentage in the federal workforce is 19.7 percent. That report, covering 2014, did not provide a comparable number for the overall workforce.
The OPM does not compile government-wide data for all types of senior positions, although a report covering fiscal 2015 showed that the Senior Executive Service, which accounts for most positions at those levels, is 34.4 percent female and 21.1 percent minority.
The 2014 OPM report showed 5.2 percent of senior executives as having disabilities under one way of counting and 5.8 percent under another.