The minority share of the State Department workforce has increased in recent years but minorities are under-represented there in both the civil service and foreign service and are promoted at slower rates, GAO has said.
GAO said that as of fiscal 2018, State had just under 23,000 employees, about three-fifths of whom were foreign service and the rest civil service. Since 2002 the percentage of minority employees increased from 28 to 32 percent, attributable to increases in the foreign service while the share in the civil service held about flat.
Within that overall increase there was a slight decrease in African Americans that was more than offset by the rise among other minority groups. Over the same period the percentage of racial or ethnic minorities in the federal workforce as a whole rose from 32 to 36 percent.
Minority employees hold only 13 and 14 percent of executive level positions in the civil service and foreign service, though, and also are under-represented at grade GS-15 in the former system and four classes below executive in the latter.
The percentage of women held steady over that time at about 43 percent, about the government-wide average, and while they are under-represented at only the executive level on the civil service side, that is true on the foreign service side of executives and the four levels below.
Further, GAO said that its analysis of the civil service side, “controlling for factors other than racial or ethnic minority status that could influence promotion, found that racial or ethnic minorities had lower adjusted rates of promotion and lower odds of promotion from each rank, from early career (GS-11) through senior manager level (GS-15), than their white counterparts.” On the foreign service side, there was a statistically significant similar difference only for promotion from class 4 to class 3, it said.
It said there were no statistically significant differences in promotion rates for women in the civil service but that rates of promotion were generally higher for women in the foreign service.