Snapshot: State Department’s Family Member Employment

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Below is a comparative snapshot of family member employment from a 2007 report and the latest available report dated June 2009 from the Family Liaison Office of the State Department. The statistics here refer to adult family members of a U.S. government employee assigned to an overseas mission under Chief of Mission authority.

The 2009 data includes reports from 201 posts while the 2007 data included 217 posts. On the gender composition, it went up a percentage this year for female family members and down a percentage for male family members. Female family members still account for 4/5 of the total worldwide population. Also, note that the employment number for those working within the US mission is stagnant at 25%. Family members working outside the mission saw an increased of 2%. This leaves the number of unemployed family members currently at 61%, 2% lower than in 2007.

Quick thoughts (and questions) — first, nothing here indicates the percentage of family members who are actively seeking work and are unable to so do. No data either on family members who have opted to stay-home by choice. I think those are important numbers to know — so we can tell the effectiveness of the agency’s response to clear, articulated needs.

Second, given the stagnant number for those working inside the mission, what happened to the expanded hiring under the Professional Associates program? I remember an official telling me that the expanded PA hiring would up the number of jobs for family members overseas. That did not seem to happen given this stuck-on 25% data. Were jobs slashed before or around the time the expanded hiring occurred? Or — there’s another way of looking at these numbers. Note that the total adult family member population has expanded from 9,243 in 2007 to 9,819 in 2009. Whatever increased in hiring occurred was erased by the expansion in this population.

Finally, I can’t tell from looking at the stats if the 2% bump for those working outside the mission came out because of the SNAP/GEI program or elsewhere. If the 1,397 jobs resulted from SNAP/GEI, is that the best bang for the limited money spent on family member employment? If not, what other alternatives are there?

Current report can be viewed here.

(217 Posts reporting October 2007)

June 2009
(201 Posts)

Family Member Employment Report Statistics
(217 Posts reporting October 2007)