The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Public Hearing of October 29, 2003 on Proposed Revised Employer Information Report (EEO-1)

Remarks of Christopher K. Northup

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at today’s hearing on the revised EEO-1 form. I hope that my comments will be useful as the Commission moves ahead with implementation of the revised form.

The remarks that I offer today focus on two main issues:

Three New Officials and Managers Categories

With the proposal that the Officials and Managers reporting category be divided into three subcategories: Executive/Senior level, Mid-level and Lower-level, there are three major issues that I would like to raise:

Classifying and reporting employees properly and consistently

I would like to share with you my observations in working with many employers both large and small over the last twenty years. In order for employers to report the current EEO-1 data it is necessary for someone in the organization to first classify each job or position into one of the nine occupational categories found on the current EEO-1 form and thus allowing the employee data to be summarized and reported out for use on the form. The person responsible for this coding could be an HR professional involved in staffing, recruiting or EEO but just as likely could be an administrative assistant or clerical type.

Many classifiers, especially the clerical workers, have never looked at the EEO-1 instruction booklet nor do they have an understanding of how the EEO-1 form information is used. Even for those familiar with the instructions because there is very limited information as to how to classify many jobs is provided one must be able to exercise their judgment when classifying jobs into EEO-1 categories. Based on my review of many organizations’ detail EEO-1 coding I have observed numerous errors either due to misunderstanding, lack of concern, or perhaps keying errors that are never corrected.

The point I would like to make is that the existing structure within organizations to classify jobs into EEO-1 categories is not always reliable, and if you now require these same persons to have to further distinguish within the officials and managers category, I have serious concerns about how accurately and reliably the coding efforts will be. Classifying of jobs into the executive/senior level is probably not as much of a concern but properly classifying mid-level and lower-level officials and managers will be especially challenging to many employers. Some of the challenges will be:

In fact even without any changes to the EEO-1 form the above action would certainly improve the reliability of the currently reported data.

Executive/Senior-level category will lack sufficient numbers

With regard to the second issue of the numbers reported in the Executive/Senior-Level category, I raise the concern that there are relatively few employees in most organizations that fall into the upper category. Certainly at larger organizations there are more such employees but at smaller organizations there will be many fewer.

If you assume the reporting universe for the EEO-1 forms is approximately 40,000 employers and on average they have between 5 and 10 employees classified in the Executive category, this would result in only 200,000 and 400,000 employees. While the Executive category data may be useful for analysis on a national level, with the other Officials and Managers categories for small and medium size employers where one would compare employers using sub-national geographic areas, the numbers will become more fragmented. Further fragmentation would occur when segmenting the data by industry or by employer size. All of this potential fragmentation may in fact require re-aggregating the data back into one or two Officials and Managers categories for any meaningful analysis.

While employers that I have worked with will be willing to comply with whatever the Commission ultimately decides, it still raises the question of whether the additional effort to collect this information is offset by the potential benefit of these data. 2000 Census occupational categories less useful and potentially confusing for some categories My comments regarding the third issue that I raise concerning the suggested ranges of 2000 Census categories are based on my thoughts that for some of the EEO-1 categories they are less useful and potentially confusing for these three O&M categories. The inclusion of the 2000 Census codes suggests that one can use these to clearly sort the organization’s jobs into one of the categories. I think one encounters the same problems that I raised with the accurate classification of jobs that are similar but located in different parts of the organization. It would be helpful to consider the following example:

Both of these jobs might require many of the same skills and though the Director might be paid more, it may not be significantly different. The corporate position might be considered a mid-level O&M based on the suggested description. The plant IT Manager might be considered either a mid-level or a lower-level O&M type job given the responsibilities. However, the EEO-1 guidelines for the revised form suggest that both of these positions should be reported in the mid-level Officials and Managers category. This ambiguity will make it difficult for the employer and will result in inconsistent data reported to and used by the Commission. There is also another concern with regards to the presentation of the census categories. For the Lower-level Officials and Managers category census occupational codes such as 081-095 are associated with this category. While the description of this category states that these employees are responsible for day-to-day operations and supervising other personnel, in fact some of persons in the census occupational categories referenced would in many cases be more properly considered “professionals” in that they require a college degree and do not always have primary supervisory responsibilities. For example, 082 Budget Analysts, 083 Credit Analysts or 084 Financial Analysts could very well be non-supervisory positions requiring a bachelor’s degree or perhaps an MBA. In such cases they would belong to the Professionals EEO-1 category rather than the Lower-level Officials and Managers category. Again this is another area of ambiguity that could confuse employers and contribute to reporting inconsistencies. While I have raised concerns about how the census occupational categories are used as guidance for the three Officials and Managers categories, I do believe that for the remaining eight categories they are helpful and useful to employers. I have often used the census occupation codes and their corresponding cross-referenced EEO-1 categories to validate classification work performed by my staff or the employer.

Resurveying Employee Race and Ethnicity

When employers begin making the necessary changes and collect data to report on the revised EEO-1 form in the next year or two, it is important to consider whether or not the Commission should require employers to resurvey employees and provide them with a new opportunity to self-identify their race and ethnicity. There are a number of issues that I would like to bring to your attention to be considered when finalizing the Commission’s decisions in this area:

Relatively few multi-race and Native Hawaiians reported

As many of you are already aware in the 2000 Census only 2.4% of the U.S. population chose to identify themselves as two or more races. If persons who identified themselves as of Hispanic origin, the two or more races category drops to only 1.6% of the population. The Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander category account for only 0.1% of the population. These statistics are significant in that they show with the addition of the two new race and ethnicity categories on the revised EEO-1 form the impact of such a change affects relatively very few people, potentially only 1.7% (1.6% of the non-Hispanic two or more races, and 0.1% of the Native Hawaiians segment.)

To illustrate what this means for employers of different sizes, an employer with

Even for those employees who are reported in the multi-race or Native Hawaiian category, their presence in the employee population would be so small that it is unlikely that any meaningful statistical analysis could be conducted for these categories.

Follow-up efforts for employees who do not self identify

If employers elect to resurvey or are required to resurvey, they will need to offer their employees the opportunity to self-identify one or more races and Hispanic origin. While it is likely that the majority of employees will comply with such a request from their employer, it is also likely that there will be some who fail or decline such an opportunity. Since the employer is required to categorize all employees with regard to their race and ethnicity for reporting purposes, the employer will be faced with having to make the determination without the assistance of the employee. If the non-response rate were only 10%:

In either case, newly hired employees would receive the opportunity to self identify under the full range of race and ethnicity options.

Again I would like to express my gratitude for allowing me to be present at today’s hearing.

This page was last modified on October 29, 2003.

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