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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Intelligence Community Reports Diversity Gains and Challenges in Hiring and Promotions

The percentage of minorities and persons with disabilities working in the intelligence community has increased while the IC still faces challenges in hiring from underrepresented groups and ensuring diversity in the senior ranks, according to the Annual Demographic Report Fiscal Year 2020 released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“The Intelligence Community should reflect the diverse makeup of America and demonstrate that we are fostering an environment where every professional can succeed,” said Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. “Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion is fundamental to our democratic values and critical to meeting the IC’s mission. This takes work every single day. We are committed to doing more to address this critical issue and accelerate our progress.”

The percentage of minorities in the IC workforce ticked up half a percentage point from FY 2019 to 27 percent in FY 2020, which the report said is “continuing steady improvement” since FY 2016. Most identified as Black or African American (12.3 percent), followed by Hispanic (7.0 percent), Asian (4.3 percent), two or more races (2.7 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (0.3 percent), and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.2 percent). Race or national origin (RNO) was not reported by 1.1 percent of the civilian workforce.

The percentage of minorities in the IC workforce is lower than the total federal workforce, where 37.7 percent of workers identify as minority, and in the civilian labor force, with 38 percent minority representation.

The number of women in the IC, which showed improvement in FY 2018 and FY 2019, held steady at 39.3 percent in FY 2020. “From FY 2014 to FY 2017, women composed 38.5% of the IC’s workforce as attrition losses offset hiring gains,” the report noted. “Gains in employment outpaced attrition and women’s representation increased to 38.8% of the IC’s workforce in FY 2018.” The percentage of women in the overall federal workforce is 43.4 percent.

The percentage of IC workers with disabilities increased from 11.5 percent in FY 2019 to 11.9 percent in FY 2020. In FY 2014, only 7.3 percent of the civilian IC workforce had disabilities.

The rate of diversity in the IC civilian workforce decreases through the senior ranks, a “persistent challenge” highlighted in the FY 2019 report. “The IC took steps in FY 2020 to increase diversity at the GS/GG-13 and higher grades by targeting diversity recruitment efforts to hire more attorneys, engineers, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) professionals because they tend to be placed in higher grades than GS/GG-12; encouraging the employee resource groups (ERGs) and IC Affinity Networks (ICANs) to engage in efforts to help members better prepare for promotion opportunities; and adding diversity and inclusion indicators to existing performance measurement to hold leaders at all levels to account for their diversity efforts,” the report states.

Minorities accounted for 27.4 percent of all IC promotions in FY 2020, an increase of 0.8 percent from FY 2019. In FY 2016, the share of promotions for minorities was 24.1 percent.

As far as new hires, 43.3 percent of applicants identified as minority in FY 2020 within the eight IC elements that collected demographic data while 32.5 percent of the applicants ultimately hired were minorities. “Efforts are underway to track applicant flow data across the IC,” the report said. “In addition, more formal barrier analysis efforts may help identify root cause of disparities.” With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, “the IC adopted new approaches that quickly built upon ongoing virtual outreach and recruitment efforts, increased workforce flexibilities, and placed greater emphasis on targeted diversity outreach through strategic partnerships.”

“The IC recognizes that there is still more work to be done to improve outreach and recruitment in under-represented and underserved communities. Adoption of new tools and technologies promises to improve these efforts — both in-person and virtually,” says the report. “Partnerships with industry, academia, government, and the private sector are being leveraged to accelerate success in diversity and inclusion outcomes. Also, increased focus on the talent pool beginning with K–12 students holds the potential for greater long-term success in ensuring the IC will have the ability to attract, develop, and retain a more diverse workforce.”

While the hiring rate continues to exceed the rate of IC attrition, the percentage of attrition for women increased from 37.4 percent of total IC departures in FY 2019 to 40.2 percent in FY 2020. Minorities leaving the IC increased from 25.4 percent in FY 2019 to 26.2 percent in FY 2020.

The IC kept climbing in its Inclusion Quotient score — in which employees answer questions about their perceptions of fairness, openness, cooperation, support, and empowerment — with 76.0 percent of those who responded expressing positive views about workplace inclusiveness in FY 2020.

The Joint Strategy to Advance Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity, and Inclusion within the United States Intelligence Community, 2020-2023 was signed and adopted by senior principals from each IC element responsible for leading diversity, inclusion, and equal employment opportunity programs. The strategy’s goals are to “bridge the gap between hiring talented individuals and ensuring all people feel connected to the mission and one another within a culture of inclusivity,” “promote workplace equality by ensuring the right resources and trained personnel are in place to eliminate barriers to equal access and swiftly respond to allegations of employment discrimination and harassment, wherever it occurs,” “strategically invest in proven programs to accelerate hiring success” by establishing partnerships with academia, professional organizations, think tanks, government, and private-sector organizations, and “provide opportunities for all IC professionals to have the flexibility, tools, access, and experiences needed to contribute fully to the IC’s mission.”

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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