Press Releases

Press Releases: Controller’s Office Releases Review of Exempt Employee Diversity

For immediate release: Friday, September 11, 2020

Contact: Jolene Nieves Byzon, 215-300-1071

Philadelphia, PA – The Office of the City Controller released its annual review of the diversity of the City of Philadelphia’s exempt workforce in fiscal year 2019 (FY19). The review assessed departmental diversity for the City’s approximately 4,600 exempt employees including new hires in FY19, new hires with salaries greater than $90,000, all exempt employees with salaries greater than $90,000, and all exempt employees. The data breaks down exempt employees by department and race/ethnicity and the department’s representation compared to the city’s demographic breakdown according to Census data. Data is examined separately for City departments that fall under the Mayor’s authority and for independently elected offices.

“My office looked at employee diversity data to determine if the City has made progress toward the goal of making the City’s workforce diversity mirror that of city demographics. We found a very slight improvement was made compared to fiscal year 2018, but the improvement was not significant. The City’s exempt workforce is still not diverse enough,” said City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart. “In government, the decisions we make on every level have a direct impact on Philadelphia residents. The people making those decisions should be representative of the population they serve.”

According to Census data, Philadelphia’s population is 66% diverse (Black or African American: 40.1%; Hispanic: 15.2%; Asian: 7.3%; Other: 3.1%). Using Census data as a benchmark, the review found that across all departments and independent offices, the racial and ethnic breakdown of the City’s exempt workforce is not representative of Philadelphia’s total population. Most departments are over-represented with White exempt employees. In departments under the Mayor’s authority, 47% of the exempt workforce was White, compared to the city’s overall population, which is 34% White.  This is a very small improvement over the prior year, in which 48% of the exempt workforce was White.

The review also showed that representation in exempt positions is particularly low for Hispanic individuals. In departments under the Mayor’s authority, Hispanic employees make up just 7.4% of the total exempt workforce, despite comprising 15.2% of the city’s total population. Only 4.7% of exempt employees earning more than $90,000 identify as Hispanic. Additionally, Hispanic individuals were the most underrepresented group among new hires earning more than $90,000, decreasing from 5.3% in FY18 to 4.3% in FY19. Hispanic employees were underrepresented in independent offices as well, though some did see a slight improvement as compared to FY18.

Building on the FY18 diversity review, the FY19 review also included an analysis of the departments and offices with the largest concentration of the City’s exempt workforce. The review focused on the Managing Director’s Office, the Office of Innovation and Technology, the Law Department, the First Judicial District, the District Attorney’s Office, and City Council, which combined comprise almost 80% of the City’s exempt workforce. Notably, while somewhat improved from FY18, the First Judicial District and the District Attorney’s Office – the independent offices with the largest exempt workforces – are 59.0% and 68.8% White, respectively.

View the interactive diversity review here.

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