U.S. Urged to Boost Hiring, Retention of Hispanics

By SHRM Online staff Feb 23, 2009

A recent report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) makes recommendations on “long overdue” actions to help federal agencies remove barriers to Hispanic job applicants.

Hispanics are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population—45.5 million of the population was Hispanic as of July 2007—yet they are “disproportionately employed in service and support occupations,” according to the EEOC. While Hispanics are represented in a wide variety of occupations, the agency noted, only 17 percent work in managerial, professional and related occupations.

The EEOC found what it called “an ongoing disturbing trend” of an increasing number of separations of Hispanics from jobs at the federal level. It found a decrease from 5.2 percent in fiscal 2006 to 4.8 percent in fiscal 2007 of Hispanic hires into professional and administrative federal positions.

Statistics of discrimination complaints also raised concerns, according to the EEOC. Among formal complaints filed by federal employees in fiscal 2007, nonsexual harassment and nonpromotion/nonselection were most often raised as harassment issues, the EEOC said in the report.

The report cites a Gallop survey released December 2005 that indicated while 15 percent of all employees reported discriminatory treatment, 18 percent of Hispanic employees did so. There has been some improvement in the percentage of discrimination complaints filed by federal workers of Hispanic national origin, with those numbers dropping from 6 percent in fiscal 2006 to 4.2 percent in fiscal 2007. Issues most often raised in formal complaints filed in fiscal 2007 alleged nonsexual, nonpromotion/nonselection harassment.

In 2008, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp and Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael J. Astrue created the Federal Hispanic Work Group; the new report is a result of that group’s work.

The work group broke into smaller groups to focus on recruitment and hiring; retention; leadership development; Hispanic employment program managers; accountability; and science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Subgroups looked at data, interviewed stakeholders and experts, and developed recommendations, according to the EEOC.

“I’ve identified a significant number of short- and long-term recommendations in the report for achievement,” Earp said in a press release. She said she has asked the Office of Federal Operations to lead implementation.

Among the recommendations:

  • Develop a Hispanic media outreach strategy and branding tool to help agencies market various types of federal jobs.
  • Coordinate recruitment efforts by establishing a consortium of federal agencies whose “mission-critical occupations” include science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Make better use of intern programs.
  • Create a government-wide mentoring program.
  • Create full-time Hispanic employment program manager positions to address employment initiatives and programs.
  • Include equal employment opportunity and diversity requirements among critical performance elements of hiring officials.

“These actions are long overdue and will help agencies remove barriers and create greater opportunities for Hispanic applicants and employees throughout the federal government.”


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