Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Public Service Workforce

A new report provides a comprehensive analysis of the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) landscape across the public service workforce. The analysis includes historical and projected data for a wide variety of occupations, and it indicates areas where certain gender, racial, or ethnic groups may be under- or over-represented. Click here to download the report.

While employment trends vary regionally and by employer, the data provide a starting point for considering how targeted recruitment strategies might help to diversify the workforce. Knowing where over- or under-representation exists can help public service employers analyze the impacts of layoffs, retirements, staff development, and training.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important considerations in providing services to the public, but also in organizational management and staffing,” said Gerald Young, MissionSquare Research Institute Senior Research Analyst. “Staff diversity has been shown to have a positive impact on productivity, quality decision making, and financial success, which are all the more important given the multitude of challenges facing state and local governments.”

Among the other categories covered in the report are diversity by age, veteran status, disability, LGBTQIA+ identification, national origin, and intersectionality.

Public Plans Data Snapshot

A new data snapshot from the Public Plans Database shows:

  • Despite the early economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, the average funded ratio among state and local pension plans has held steady at 72%.
  • The share of plans contributing at or near their full actuarially determined employer contribution (ADEC) remained high (83% of all plans).
  • From 2001 to 2020, the actuarially determined contribution expressed as a percentage of payroll has more than doubled for all payroll sizes.
  • Investments in alternatives such as private equity, real estate, hedge funds, and commodities are more than three times what they were in 2005.

The PPD contains detailed information on the 210 largest state and local DB pension plans in the U.S., representing 95% of all state and local pension assets and participants. The PPD was expanded in 2020 to include data from public sector DC retirement plans.

The Public Plans Database continues to be an excellent resource for understanding the public sector retirement plan landscape,” said Joshua Franzel, Ph.D., MissionSquare Research Institute Managing Director. “As we continue to expand the PPD to include more defined contribution plans, it will provide stakeholders with an even more comprehensive view of public retirement plans.”

ICMA Conference Presentations

MissionSquare Research Institute staff took part in a number of sessions at the October annual conference of the International City/County Management Association, including:

  • Promising Practices for Building Employee Financial Resilience in a Changed World
  • Use of Alternative and Quality of Life Benefits as a Workforce Management Tool
  • Voices of the Furlough

Click here for information on the overall program and registration.  Registrants may view any of the presentations that were recorded through December 31.

MissionSquare Research Institute in the News

Institute research on K-12 employee opinions on COVID-19’s impacts was covered by Business InsiderYahoo FinanceSalon, the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association, and Route Fifty. The full report was also discussed in a related webinar by Rivka Liss-Levinson, PhD, Senior Research Manager, and Richard Counts, Managing Director, Cooperating School Districts Retirement Trust. Click here to view the webinar recording or presentation slides.

Public Management cited work by the Institute and other research partners on military veterans’ reliability and work ethic as part of the civilian contributions to the workforce.

Governing and the Pew Charitable Trusts turned to Dr. Franzel to comment on lagging state and local job growth.

American City & County published an interview with Gerald Young discussing strategies for recruitment of local government procurement staff, as well as an article on the Public Plans Database snapshot.

The National Association of State Treasurers and Local Government Hispanic Network conferences featured discussions around the Institute’s COVID and workforce research. Looking ahead, Dr. Franzel will be presenting at the Conference of Consulting Actuaries in Scottsdale, Arizona, on 10/25 about public pension data resources.