Diversity in the Department of State (2022)

It’s 2022, which means it’s time to review whether the Department of State has become more diverse since 2016, when we conducted our first review. I am writing this portion of the post before examining the data, so with it being five years, I’ll be interested to see if any change has taken place. That said, when we conducted our last review in 2019, there wasn’t a lot of movement.

We’re going to dive right into the review, but if you would like to learn more about the (lack of) diversity in the Department of State, I recommend reading the above two posts. In addition, with the new administration coming in a year ago, Politico quoted Rep. Joaquín Castro as stating that the diversity gap is “a generational crisis in American diplomacy.”

Let’s see if the data looks better.

Diversity at the Department of State

On December 31, 2021, the Bureau of Global Talent Management published new data on the Department of State’s diversity of its full-time permanent workforce. 

The mission of the GTM is “to recruit, retain, and sustain a diverse, talented, and inclusive workforce that is prepared to advance U.S. national security interests and American values in every corner of the world.”

Before we dive into the DoS data, let’s see how the most recent census updates the U.S. demographics.

EthnicityRaceGender
Not Hispanic: 81.9%
Hispanic: 18.1%
White: 76.3%
African American: 13.4%
American Indian: 1.3%
Asian: 5.9%
Native Hawaiian: 0.2%
Two or more: 2.8%
Male: 49.2%
Female: 50.8%

Now let’s dive into the Department of State data. For the tables below, the following key is required:

  • All figures are represented as a %
  • The first % are 2016 figures, the second and bold % are 2019 figures, and the third % are 2021 figures
  • Information on gender, ethnicity, and race are provided
  • SES = Senior Executive Service (Civil)
  • SFS = Senior Foreign Service (Foreign)

GENDER

 FemaleMale
Civil Service54.51, 54.1, 54.745.49, 45.8, 45.3
FS Generalist40.47, 41.2, 42.559.53, 58.7, 57.5
FS Specialist27.72, 28.9, 28.372.28, 71.0, 71.7
Total43.75, 43.6, 44.956.25, 56.3, 55.1
SES41.00, 39.7, 44.759.00, 60.2, 55.3
SFS32.40, 31.8, 33.867.60, 68.1, 66.2

ETHNICITY

 HispanicNot HispanicUnsp
Civil Service6.39, 6.6, 7.393.51, 93.3, 92.70.10, 0.00, 0.00
FS Generalist5.79, 6.3, 7.094.18, 93.4, 92.80.02, 0.2, 0.3
FS Specialist9.08, 9.8, 10.590.89, 89.7, 89.00.03, 0.3, 0.4
Total6.82, 7.3, 7.993.12, 92.5, 91.90.06, 0.1, 0.2
SES3.77, 4.3, 3.796.23, 95.6, 96.30.00, 0.00, 0.00
SFS4.40, 4.9, 6.795.60, 95.0, 93.30.00, 0.00, 0.00

RACE

 WhiteAfrican AmericanAmerican IndianAsianNative HawaiianMulti-raceUnsp
Civil Service60.92, 60.7, 61.724.88, 24.5, 24.90.5, 0.4, 0.76.26, 6.50, 7.50.15, 0.1, 0.24.40, 4.7, 2.72.88, 2.6, 2.2
FS Generalist81.62, 81.1, 80.05.36, 5.4, 6.20.31, 0.3, 0.66.85, 6.7, 7.60.05, 0.0, 0.13.72, 4.2, 3.82.09, 2.0, 1.8
FS Specialist75.86, 75.0, 74.08.89, 8.7, 10.30.38, 0.5, 0.95.69, 5.9, 7.20.17, 0.1, 0.35.12, 5.8, 3.93.89, 3.7, 3.4
Total71.10, 71.0, 74.014.84, 14.3, 15.60.41, 0.4, 0.76.32, 6.4, 7.50.12, 0.1, 0.24.35, 4.8, 3.32.86, 2.6, 2.4
SES89.96, 89.0, 83.94.18, 3.4, 7.30.00, 0.0, 0.43.35, 4.8, 5.90.0, 0.0, 0.01.26, 1.3, 1.11.26, 1.3, 1.5
SFS87.36, 89.1, 85.84.59, 3.0, 3.70.19, 0.1, 0.23.84, 3.4, 4.90.0, 0.0, 0.01.59, 1.8, 2.22.43, 2.4, 3.2

What can we learn from the data?

Alright, so this will probably be the last year I showcase all of the data in this way.

Gender

When it comes to gender, the data has not drastically changed over the last five years. The most significant movement is within the FS Generalist role, where we have seen a steady increase in female representation – 2 points over five years. However, this is still 8 points below the national average.

The most significant gain is within the SES, in which female representation increased 3, almost 4, points over the last five years.

Ethnicity

There are gains across the board, except for the SES. The most significant changes are within the Foreign Service. The FS Generalist role saw an increase of 1.2 points, while the SFS saw a rise of 2.3 points. The national average is 18%, so there is still much work to accomplish regarding ethnicity.

Race

Except for the Civil Service, there is an increase in racial diversity across the workforce. The most notable gains are with Asian and African American designation. 

Are the changes significant over five years? No. A point of increase or decrease is not a considerable change.

Is the Department of State moving in the right direction? Technically, yes. Is there speed in their movement? No. 

I will note that the most notable changes over the last five years are in the SES and SFS, which is an important step, but we are not close to the national average. When it comes to these senior-level roles, though, change will take more than five years to significantly occur.

Overall 

It is necessary to continue the work to diversify U.S. diplomats, which feels like an echo to 2016 and 2019.

Let’s see how things progress…

What do y’all think?

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