Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.
On December 2, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched EEOC Explore, an interactive tool that allows users to view workplace demographic data collected through Form EEO-1. Form EEO-1 data is provided by private-sector employers with more than 100 employees and federal contractors with 50 or more employees and contracts with the federal government in excess of $50,000. This aggregated data set provides detail regarding workforce composition in terms of sex and race/ethnicity and can be helpful for benchmarking and providing a broad understanding of the availability of certain demographic groups based on location, industry, sector, and EEO job category.
EEOC Explore currently provides access to data for 2017 and 2018 in the aggregate, which can be filtered by location, industry, sector, EEO job category, and year.1 These filters provide employers access to industry data that may prove useful for benchmarking and understanding the availability of certain demographic groups.
Why is Availability Useful?
In general, an understanding of employee availability is useful for benchmarking against industry trends, determining whether and to what extent diversity initiatives are needed, and to establish related expectations. Developing diversity initiatives is a complex and company-specific process that can involve comparison of numerous data sets through sophisticated statistical analysis. A comparison of employer-specific and market demographic data helps employers determine whether representation within their workforce is below, consistent with, or above market availability.
Availability also constrains the potential impact of diversity initiatives. In other words, the availability of specific demographic groups based on location, industry, sector, and job will impact the potential success of diversity initiatives. Setting an expectation that does not reflect availability may be unrealistic and inadvisable, depending on employer-specific considerations. Such unrealistic expectations can ultimately result in perceived ineffectiveness and abandonment of valuable initiatives, which would negatively affect diversity in the long term. In order to avoid these negative consequences, diversity initiatives should account for the availability of employees potentially based on industry, sector, job category, and applicable location (potentially national or by region, state, metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas (CBSA), or county).
What Does EEOC Explore Provide?
EEOC Explore provides user-friendly access to one data set that could be useful for diversity initiatives—aggregated Form EEO-1 data. The graphical representations and filters available through EEOC Explore allow employers to access specific segments of nationwide workforce data that could be relevant to their operations. And, EEO-1 data provides a more current basis for benchmarking than U.S. census data, which is only collected once per decade.
In addition to EEOC Explore, raw Form EEO-1 data is publicly available through the EEOC.2 The raw data can be used as a component of sophisticated statistical analysis valuable for diversity initiatives. Although raw data from numerous sources is more useful for diversity and inclusion audits, EEOC Explore provides access to one potential data set to a much broader audience.
1 Data for 2019 has not yet been collected and, therefore, is not included in EEOC Explore. The EEOC is expected to collect data for 2019 and 2020 in 2021 due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 public health emergency. See https://www.eeoc.gov/newsroom/eeoc-delays-eeo-data-collections-due-covid-19-public-health-emergency
2 Raw data tables are available at https://www.eeoc.gov/statistics/employment/jobpatterns/eeo1?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term.