U.S Postal Service:

Data on Career Employee Diversity

GAO-03-745R: Published: Sep 15, 2003. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 2003.

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Bernard L. Ungar
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Over the years, Committees and members of Congress have requested information about employee equal opportunity and diversity issues at the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). This report follows up on our past reports concerning diversity issues at the USPS and responds to the request of the Ranking Minority Members of the House Committee on Government Reform and its Subcommittee on Civil Service and Agency Organization for more current information on the representation of minorities and women at the USPS. Our objective was to provide data on the makeup (numbers and percentages) for each equal employment opportunity (EEO) group--white, black, Hispanic, Asian-American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), American Indian and Alaskan Native (AIAN), and Native Hawaiian (Hawaiian)--and gender group of USPS career employees for USPS fiscal years 2000 through 2002. Information contained in this report was obtained from USPS databases, which we deemed sufficiently reliable for the informational purpose of this engagement.

According to the USPS data, the USPS career employee workforce has declined over the course of the last three fiscal years from 786,446 in fiscal year 2000 to 751,650 in fiscal year 2002. Although the number of minorities and women also declined over this 3-year period, their representation in the workforce remained fairly constant, about 36 and 38 percent, respectively. Relative to the Current Population Survey (CPS), black and AAPI men and women in the USPS were fully represented, while Hispanic and AIAN men and women and white women were underrepresented in the USPS workforce. Overall, the representation of minorities in the USPS workforce exceeded their representation in the U.S. workforce each year, while the representation of women was less than their representation in the U.S. workforce each year. The percentage representation of minorities and women at higher-grade levels was generally less for each of the three years than their representation in the USPS workforce. The percentage representation of white males at higher-grade levels was generally greater than their representation in the USPS workforce for each of the three years. The number of USPS workforce promotions steadily declined over the three fiscal years decreasing from 7,114 in fiscal year 2000 to 5,320 in fiscal year 2002--a decrease of about 26 percent. On the other hand, the proportion of USPS workforce promotions received by minorities and women remained relatively constant over the three fiscal years. For the three fiscal years, minorities received an average of about 30 percent of the promotions while representing, on average, about 36 percent of the workforce for the same period; whereas, the average representation of women promoted exceeded their average representation in the USPS workforce by almost 10 percent at about 46 percent for the same period. Promotions by grade levels varied among EEO groups. Regarding the three stages of the promotion process--applications submitted, considered best qualified, and promoted--the average representation of minorities and women as they passed through these stages showed no differences for each of the three years. For all grade levels combined, minorities and women on average constituted about 61 percent of all applications submitted for promotion, about 61 percent were considered best qualified, and about 61 percent were promoted. At higher-grade levels, 15--18 and 19--26, white males represented the largest EEO group at all three promotion process stages for each of the three years. According to the USPS data, the number of career employees retiring increased in fiscal year 2002 to 18,288 after experiencing a slight decrease from fiscal years 2000 to 2001, going from 15,692 to 15,504, respectively. The representation of minorities and women retiring remained constant--averaging about 27 and 28 percent of retirees, respectively, for fiscal years 2000 through 2002. The representation of minorities and women retiring each year was generally less than each group's average overall representation in the USPS workforce. The number of monetary performance awards fluctuated over the three fiscal years with 61,129 given in fiscal year 2000, 54,604 in fiscal year 2001, and 59,830 in fiscal year 2002. Overall, the 3-year average representation of such awards received by minorities and women--38 and 40 percent, respectively--exceeded their average representation in the USPS workforce of 36 and 38 percent, respectively. awards in each of the three fiscal years. This is proportional to their average representation in the USPS workforce for those years.

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