For the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to further narrow the pay gap for Federal workers, better quality data on promotions is needed as it is often incomplete.

In a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, data from EEOC on promotions doesn’t always designate gender, race, or ethnicity. The pay gap between Federal men and women employees has narrowed from 19 cents on the dollar in 1999 to seven cents on the dollar in 2017, but the current pay gap is greater for certain groups of women, including Latinas, Blacks, American Indians, and Alaska Natives.

“EEOC annually collects workforce data from agencies and provides related technical assistance, and officials said they plan to expand these efforts,” the GAO report said. “These data include promotions by gender and race and ethnicity, which EEOC and agencies use to identify potential barriers to career advancement, but GAO found these data were not sufficiently complete.”

GAO requested 51 data tables from EEOC, but found that 35 were either missing or had at least one incomplete data element. While EEOC states that it is in part because promotion applicants are not generally required to provide demographic information, EEOC has not fully assessed the reliability of the data and does not follow up with the agencies about missing data between technical assistance visits.

GAO made a single recommendation for EEOC to address this issue, to which the agency neither agreed nor disagreed with. GAO recommended that EEOC “take steps to assess the quality of the promotion data in the MD-715 report and address data discrepancies with agencies in a timelier manner.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.