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Press Release 02-14-2022

EEOC Releases Analysis of Older Workers in the Federal Workforce

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a report on workers age 40 and over in the federal workforce with details regarding pay disparities, the proportion of older workers on staff, complaints of age discrimination, and how this group compares to workers in the private sector.

The report by the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations found that the federal government – the nation’s largest employer with about two million workers – generally outperforms the private sector in diversity for this cohort of workers. For example, employees 40 and over had greater representation in the federal sector (72%) than in the non-federal civilian labor force (CLF) (54%), and was more diverse -- most race and national origin groups were represented in the federal government at rates equal to or greater than the CLF.

Researchers found disparities in aspects of the federal workforce 40 and over: men were a greater percentage than women and pay gaps existed between women and men and among different race and national origin groups. Also, the report found that federal employees in this cohort on average earned more as they aged, with earnings peaking at the 65, suggesting that labor is not undervalued with age.

“It’s an established fact of life that more older Americans are working longer, and in larger numbers than ever before,” said Dexter Brooks, associate director of the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations. “The fact that more mature workers are contributing their experience and talents to their employers is good for the country. It also means the EEOC must continue to be vigilant in protecting their rights, and it behooves us to track and analyze the situation of older employees in every sector to see what lessons may be learned.”

The study supports President Biden’s Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce, which calls for the federal workforce to be a model employer. The order includes “individuals who belong to communities that may face employment barriers based on older age” as a potentially underserved group needing attention.

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