When it comes to equal opportunity for women and people of color it would be easy to assume that in a state as liberal as California those people would be well represented in the highest levels of civil service employment, but not so.
According to CalHR, the state’s human resources department, employment and advancement opportunities for women and minorities is not improving. From 2012 through 2014, the overall percentage of females and African Americans in the coveted Career Executive Assignment (CEA) positions, among the highest paid exempt assignments, has declined.
In 2012, among the 1,248 CEA classifications only 90, or 7.2 percent, of the CEA’s were African American; 150, or 12 percent, were Hispanic and 103, or 8.25 percent, were Asian. Among those, 626 or 52 percent of the total were women, 56 or 4.5 percent were African American women, 82 or 6.6 percent were Hispanic women, and 46 or 3.7% were Asian women.
In 2013, the statistics showed a slight, but measurable decline in the number of women and minorities employed by the state of California. In 2014, there was a further decline in the number of women and minorities employed by the state of California; with 1,274 CEA’s and 80 or 6.2 percent were African American; 161 or 12.7 percent were Hispanic and 106 or 8.3 percent were Asian. Among those, 644 or 50.5% were female and among those, 51 or 4.0 percent were African American, 90 or 7.0 percent were Hispanic and 55 or 4.3 percent were Asian.
Other significant indicators throughout the statewide civil service spectrum revealed that between 2009 to 2013, there were 8.1 percent fewer African Americans and 3.4 percent fewer Hispanics. Similarly, while the representation of African Americans relative to the population is is fine, Blacks experience a 7.5 percent lower wage range than average.On the other hand, Hispanics are both under-represented and paid below average.
In the most recent State Employee Census, compiled by CalHR and published in January 2015, one of the state’s largest agencies, the Board of Equalization, posted favorable numbers for African Americans and women. 10 percent of the employees at the Board of Equalization (445) were African Americans; 22 percent (986) were Latino and 26 percent (1185) were Asian.
This compares with an African American representation of 10.5 percent overall in state civil service; 5.6 percent in California’s overall labor force and 6 percent of our state’s population. Latinos represent 35.3 percent of the overall labor force and Asians represent 13.9 percent.
Since the appointment of Jerome Horton in 2009, the first African American to be elected to the Board of Equalization (BOE) since its inception in 1879, and with three of the five Board Members being women things have improved for women and minorities. As of September, 2015, 32 percent of the CEAs employed with the Board of Equalization are women or people of color.
However, the Board of Equalization has not fared well historically for women and minorities in the coveted CEA classification. Out of the 187 highest-ranking Career Executive Assignment positions, only nine were African Americans, or 4.8 percent, 16 or 8.6 percent were Latino, and 15 or 8 percent were Asian.
Horton also cited the need for additional outreach in non- traditional minority media outlets, at colleges with significant minority enrollment, and the establishment of internship programs at the entry level and mentorship programs at the executive level, to give women and minorities an opportunity to succeed.
“Stepping into an executive position can and should begin an upward climb professionally”, said Senator Holly J. Mitchell, Chair of the California Senate Select Committee on Women and Inequality. “But if it comes without equal pay, without equal treatment or lacking opportunities for mentorship with other women, the stricter scrutiny to which we know female staffs are disproportionately subjected can make a promotion feel like a punishment.”
Alice Huffman, President, California-Hawaii State NAACP said. “Even though there have been cracks in the glass ceiling, the challenge is keeping women from slipping down the glass slope. “I think it is important that women and minorities understand that there are inequalities at every level and things don’t change just because a few have arrived near the top.”
For more information about employment opportunities with the State of California visit calhr.com.”