Hiring goals for women, minorities unmet by campus

UC Berkeley is struggling to meet its staff hiring goals for women and minorities due to a reduced budget and a staff hiring freeze implemented in spring 2009.

Since last year, fewer campus job groups have met their designated goals for women and the American Indian and Alaskan Native populations, according to data from the plan. Campus officials said that these two groups are often difficult to recruit.

“Because of the hiring freeze, there are very few opportunities to fill positions and recruit for diversity, and because of downsizing, there haven’t been as many jobs available as five years ago,” said Rich Lau, director of the campus division of Staff Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance. “When we do have an opening, we try to work with managers to recruit for jobs by approaching organizations that could help us reach a goal.”

As a federal contractor, the UC system is required to create hiring goals for all non-academic staff appointments that represent the demographics of qualified employees from the geographical region of recruitment. The campus set its current affirmative action goals in 2002 based on 2000 census data on demographics in the nine Bay Area counties.

According to the census, the Bay Area population is about 18 percent Asian and 19 percent Hispanic, while the American Indian and Alaskan Native population is less than 1 percent. For this reason, Lau said it is often a challenge to meet campus hiring goals for American Indian and Alaskan Native employees, who do not currently hold any senior management positions on campus. Two more job groups have added goals for hiring American Indians and Alaskan Natives since last academic year.

Dan Garcia, a campus lecturer of computer science, attributes this lack of representation to the “shrinking pipeline” — the idea that as people move up through management and executive positions, the number of minorities and women represented tends to decrease.

The fact that the campus is not meeting recruitment goals “doesn’t surprise me,” Garcia said.

“Take Hispanics for example — you’ll notice that at the undergraduate level, there are fewer Hispanics than the population, and at graduate levels there are even less,” he said. “You find the problem of the shrinking pipeline, where the percent of women and people of color is far below population percentages.”

As of October 2010, 12.5 percent of the 6,705 non-academic campus employees were Hispanic, with positions in research, engineering and senior-level management not fulfilling the specified hiring goals. Women made up about 58 percent of the campus’s non-academic workforce, exceeding the census data by 8 percent.

However, Alfred Alipio Jocson, a campus representative for Staff Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance, said the campus struggles to recruit women into senior-level management positions.

The campus has set a goal to have about 57 percent of upper management positions filled by women. Though women currently occupy half of the jobs in upper-level management, up from about 46 percent in April 2010, Jocson said that reaching the goal this academic year is unreasonable, given the current hiring freeze.

“The idea is that, in the long term, we will get closer to having the workforce be of similar composition to the available workforce,” Jocson said. “But getting to that takes a while, especially in this state.”