In a society that does not support racial discrimination, we seem to focus on categorizing and counting people by race in a wide variety of ways. The federal government is probably a leader in this regard. Which groups now make up most of the federal workforce and are there differences in the average salary among the racial groupings of federal employees?
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) uses a variety of obscure terms to describe the race of federal employees with groupings using terms such as “Not Hispanic/Latino & Black/African American” or “Not Hispanic/Latino and of More Than One Race.” Presumably the agency has its own internal reasons for obfuscating the actual group they are counting. All of the figures below are results compiled by the federal government.
Changes are occurring in the composition of the federal workforce and the changes are happening fairly rapidly.
The four largest racial groups are white, black and Hispanic/Latino and Asian. The chart below displays the numbers from fiscal years 2011 – 2015 and also shows the average salary for each of these groups for the 2015 fiscal year.
Whites comprise the largest percentage of the federal workforce with 64.01%. Asians have had the largest percentage increase in federal employment since FY 2011 – FY 2015 with an increase of 6.8%. In fact, the number of Asians is now greater than the number of Hispanic federal employees, and the percentage of Asians in the federal workforce is slightly larger than the number of Hispanic/Latino employees.
Black Americans have also increased their numbers in the federal workforce by 1.48% and now constitute 18.37% of the federal workforce. The number of white and Hispanic/Latino employees in government is steadily decreasing.
Asians have the largest average salary among the four groups with an average of $93,223. White federal employees have the second highest average salary at $89,759. Hispanic federal employees had an average of $75,412 and African American federal employees had an average of $72,224. The average salary for all federal government employees for fiscal year 2015 was $81,578.
Here are the statistics displaying changes in federal employment among these three largest groups between 2011-2015 and the average salary for each group for fiscal year 2015 :
|Race||FY2015||Total % Change||Average Salary FY 2015||% of the Federal Workforce in FY 2015|
OPM does not speculate about why Asians have higher salary levels than other groups and why some racial groups are increasing or decreasing in numbers.
The agency does, however, shows how the workforce is changing in terms of educational attainment. This chart shows the increasing number of federal employees with advanced degrees over the past five years:
|Education||FY 2011||FY 2012||FY 2013||FY 2014||FY 2015|
|NO HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE||11,446||10,651||9,947||9,531||8,956|
|HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE||491,951||480,537||465,706||461,379||452,755|
|UNKNOWN OR UNSPECIFIED||747||554||190||361||548|
The number of federal employees with advanced degrees and college degrees has increased while the number with lesser education has gone down each year.
The OPM report does not separate out racial groups by educational attainment. According to the Department of Education, Asians as a group have a higher percentage of college and advanced degrees than others do. It is at least a possibility that this higher percentage of people with college degrees and advanced degrees is a significant contributing factor to the higher average salary of Asians as a group and to their increasing numbers within the federal workforce as the government is hiring more people with advanced degrees.
Those with an interest in further salary research can check out individual federal employee salaries and sort by various categories at FedsDataCenter.com.
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