State’s “Tsunami” Retired Workforce Offers Opportunity to Expand Diversity – NBC Connecticut

If you are looking for a new job, you may be able to find one with the state.

Thousands of positions are opening up this year with an anticipated wave of retirements. With this turnover, heads of state are seeking to diversify the workforce.

“The public sector directly serves people, and the workforce needs to resemble the population it serves, as this enables them to understand the needs of that population,” said Mohamad Alkadry, professor of public policy at the ‘UConn.

About 30,000 people work for the executive branch of the state, and two new reports dealing specifically with this branch show that 8,145 employees are eligible for retirement this year. More than two-thirds of them plan to do so, which means that there will be 5,864 vacant positions.

With this change, efforts are already underway to rehire a more diverse workforce.

“I think this means that all of the people we rehire should be more reflective of the state of Connecticut’s people,” said Lora Rae Anderson, spokesperson for the Department of Administrative Services.

This is called a ‘retirement tsunami’, and with staff turnover, heads of state see an opportunity to address gender, racial and ethnic disparities in the makeup of the workforce. labor. They are also considering pay equity in state government.

A report released by the State Comptroller’s Office and UConn’s Public Policy Department examines how best to handle the moment. It specifically considers these two factors: pay equity between the 30,000,000 state employees in the executive branch, as well as the diversity of the workforce, including new hires.

“New hire data is really important because it tells you what the future is likely to look like,” Alkadry said.

When it comes to payroll, white Asian men, women, and men earn the most, while black and Hispanic employees earn the least. Hispanic men experience the greatest disparity at 84 percent.

Anderson says the administrative services department is working to expand opportunities for organic growth. These include the centralization of departments such as human resources and IT to better guarantee fair remuneration and broad access to vocational training.

“If you are someone who is planning to grow professionally or want to be promoted, who is considering getting that raise, there is a really good opportunity for you to just log on,” Anderson said. “Whether you’re at work or on leave, you know, it’s something you can access anytime. And if you want to know more about new opportunities, it’s something that’s there for you.”

As for workforce representation, the report says women are well represented in the executive, making up 51 percent of the workforce compared to 52 percent of the state’s population. However, this varies from agency to agency.

“There is overall parity in the workforce,” said Alkadry. “When you zoom in on different categories within the workforce, you start to see gaps or imbalances.”

Women are overrepresented in administrative support, occupying 87 percent of these roles, and paraprofessional services. They are significantly under-represented in areas such as protective services and engineering.

When it comes to racial diversity, the report shows that the majority of executive employees are white. The report finds an appropriate number of black employees overall, but black men are under-represented. Asian employees are generally under-represented, but represent many new hires.

The most under-represented group are Hispanic employees. The gap only widens when new hires are considered.

Alkadry says new hires will shape the diversity of the workforce in 5-10 years.

“We’re talking about five or six thousand employees who have been hired into the state workforce in the past five or six years,” he said. “So the new hires present almost an opportunity to hire that many people in a year for the state, and the idea here is that it shouldn’t be a missed opportunity.”

Anderson says DAS is strengthening community partnerships and expanding recruiting.

“People can expect to see more state-owned job advertisements in your small local newspapers that may not necessarily be in English, or just Spanish,” she said. “We’re hoping to expand to some Portuguese, Polish and other outlets just to make sure that more diverse people have their eyes on what we’re sending.”

The judiciary is also considering the diversity among its 3,600 employees. A working group met on Tuesday to discuss the early retirements of judges, prosecutors, courts martial, clerks and others.

Based on the workforce in 2017, 1,800 of these employees are eligible for retirement by mid-2022. This represents 46 percent of the workforce. However, speakers at Tuesday’s meeting said the pandemic played a role in some people leaving their jobs for the state prematurely. As of October 2020, more than 900 of these employees had already retired.

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Edward K. Thompson