Glossary of AAP Terms

(Annual) Affirmative Action Plan

From the Code of Federal Regulations 41 Section 60-2.10:

“An affirmative action program is a management tool designed to ensure equal employment opportunity. ... Effective affirmative action programs also include internal auditing and reporting systems as a means of measuring the contractor's progress toward achieving the workforce that would be expected in the absence of discrimination.”

Accordingly, an Affirmative Action plan (AAP), prepared annually, consists of statistics and narratives for minorities and women, individuals with disabilities, and protected Veterans, as mandated by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). By looking at the 12-month period, preceding the plan date, the employer can assess the current state of employment opportunity with the organization to determine if additional actions must be taken.

The Agency performs periodic audits of contractors to review their Affirmative Action programs.

Adverse Impact

Adverse Impact occurs in a personnel action when the selection rate of one class of applicants or employees falls below 80% of the selection rate of a complement class, taking into consideration whether the action is positive (e.g., promotion) or negative (i.e., termination). Traditional Adverse Impact analysis considers the selection rate of a protected class (i.e., race or gender) against the complement non-protected class.

Adverse Impact ratio analyses serve as a tool for monitoring your organization's Personnel Actions as part of its Affirmative Action program.

Annotated Employee

For an organization with multiple locations, with a Master Plan and a set of sub plans, an annotated employee represents someone whose work and report locations differ. As a result, the employee's statistics will be included in the sub plan for his or her supervisor, while being "annotated" in the local sub plan for cross-reference purposes.

Annotation Only

In balanceAAP, "Annotation Only" is used to categorize an employee who works at a location with less than 50 employees, when the location (and its statistics) are being rolled into another plan. This small group of employees can be rolled into a managing plan or the plan where the HR function resides.


When updating data, "Append" means to add the incoming date to the existing data or in other words, to augment the existing data set.


A person considered for a job within an organization. An applicant for the purpose of Affirmative Action reporting should be defined to ensure conformance to the regulations and support consistent practices within your organization. This term is typically limited to those who express interest in a particular job opening and who meet minimum qualifications for employment in that position.

For more information on the regulatory definition, see: Definition of an Internet Applicant.


Availability is the percentage of a protected class, which is calculated to be available for employment openings within a Job Group at a work location. This calculation is comprised of two (weighted) factors that reflect external and internal sources for candidates, i.e., Internal and External Availability.

Census Occupation Codes

Contained in the U.S. Census data set, Census Occupation Codes are standardized conventions for classifying job titles. To support External Availability calculations, each job title within your organization is matched to a Census Occupation Code.

Company Name

The Company Name will appear at the top of all reports printed in balanceAAP. If multiple plans are being created as part of a Master/sub-plan set, location identifiers will be included, separately.

Data Tables

A data pull from Human Resource records is necessary for AAP preparation. This data set is separated into Data Tables, containing information for the following:

  • Roster
  • Applicants
  • New Hires
  • Promotions
  • Terminations

The codes used in the Data Tables are catalogued in Reference Tables.

For more information, see: BalanceAAP Data Requirements Guide.

Department Hierarchy

Necessary for those developing the Organizational Display, the Department Hierarchy is built in balanceAAP to reflect your organization's management structure.


Developed in the Reporting Levels module, Drilldowns represent smaller units within a plan, with results displaying in reports, based on standard or custom fields. Sectors may be used to create another level of Reporting Structure for a Drilldown.

EEO Category

As defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), EEO Categories are broad job classifications, based on employer type (e.g., private organization, educational institution). The EEOC compiles job classification schedules, accordingly. EEO Categories are then applied to Job Groups within your organization, during AAP preparation.


Documenting the gender and race of employees, the EEO-1 report is submitted to EEOC annually by Federal contractors. Particularly suited for organizations with multiple Establishments, balanceAAP provides tools to prepare and submit EEO-1 information electronically.


Relative to an AAP, "Employment" represents the number or percentage of minorities and females among those employed at a work location. Protected-class Employment is compared to the Availability in the Utilization Analysis.


In balanceAAP, Errors are records containing blank, invalid, or duplicate data. Because Errors prevent the records from being included in AAP calculations, they must be corrected before one can proceed.

Executive Order 11246

Signed originally by President Lyndon Johnson and since amended, Executive Order 11246 forms the basis for the Affirmative Action obligations of Federal contractors and other covered entities.

Establishment (or Facility)

A work location that falls under an organization's umbrella. The location must be accounted for in AAP and EEO-1/VETS reporting, according to specific regulations.

External Availability

As a factor in determining Availability (along with Internal Availability), External Availability involves determining the percentages of women and minorities that are "available" for a work location. In determining External Availability, (1) U.S. Census Bureau data are used to compile demographics by occupation for each Reasonable Recruitment Area, and (2) Census Occupation Codes are matched to job titles at your organization.

Factor Weights

Factor Weights are assigned to establish the relative importance of Internal and External Availability factors in determining the total Availability of candidates for jobs at your organization. BalanceAAP provides tools to help you choose settings that reflect your organization's hiring and promotion practices.

Feeder Jobs

In determining Internal Availability, Feeder Jobs are staffed "source" positions within your organization that provide a normal promotion path into other "target" positions. In almost all cases, the feeder path goes up, from a lower level to a higher level.

File Consistency Issues

In balanceAAP, File Consistency Issues are flagged by the system, indicating potential data discrepancies across an employee's set of records. In this case, you may continue with running AAP analyses. However, for most accurate plan results, the issues should be reviewed to ascertain whether they are correct within your data scheme or require editing before proceeding.

Goal Attainment

Goal Attainment is an analysis that looks at progress made in the current plan year to meet Placement Goals set in the prior year's plan.

Good Faith Efforts

Good Faith Efforts (GFEs) are actions your organization takes to reach out to members of protected classes during recruitment, particularly if Placement Goals have been identified through the AAP process. With REACH, a balanceAAP-integrated program, GFEs can be documented and evaluated for inclusion in the AAP.

History Data

To assess Goal Attainment, History data are needed from the prior year's plan for Placement Goals, Availability, incumbency numbers, and Veterans. BalanceAAP offers three methods for linking or obtaining the necessary data from a History Source:

  • Data entry
  • Start Point Analysis
  • Import from existing BalanceAAP plan

IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System)

This data source contains occupational information on college and university employees in the United States. The IPEDS coding structure for job categories, along with the resulting data, support the preparation of AAPs by higher education institutions.

IRA (Impact Ratio Analysis or Analyses)

This measure of disparate impact differs from Traditional Adverse Impact analyses in that Women and Minorities are not assumed to be the protected classes in each selection decision. An IRA simply evaluates a personnel action to ascertain whether any disproportionate selection rates exist by gender or race/ethnic group. The favored group is the one with the most advantageous selection rate.

This method may help uncover disparities by individual race/ethnic group, or it may hone in on the "steering" of women or minorities into certain lower-paying jobs.

Internal Availability

As a factor in determining Availability (along with External Availability), Internal Availability is determined by analyzing avenues of promotion (and transfer, if applicable) within your organization. For this calculation, Feeder Jobs that form the pipeline for promotion (and transfer) will be established via balanceAAP.

IWD (Individuals with Disabilities)

Individuals with Disabilities are protected by Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, as enforced by OFCCP for Federal contractors and other covered entities. Accordingly, balanceAAP calculates IWD statistics and produces the required AAP Narrative, covering this class of applicants/employees.

Job Group

As the fundamental unit of analysis in an Affirmative Action plan (and often as a subset of an EEO Category), a Job Group is a collection of job titles with similar duties, content, compensation, or opportunity level.

Master Plan

For organizations with multiple plans, a Master Plan is an effective way to:

  • Control global settings and content across plans
  • House the organization's data set to ensure accuracy across plans
  • Produce AAP reporting for plans as a whole or in part


The following Narratives are required elements of an Affirmative Action plan:

  • Women and Minorities
  • Individuals with Disabilities
  • Protected Veterans

In addition to outlining your organization’s commitments, policies, and actions regarding Affirmative Action, each Narrative "ties" the relevant statistical reporting together with verbiage to create a cohesive document.


As part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has overall responsibility for ensuring that government contractors and other covered entities comply with Federal regulations, including those concerning Affirmative Action.

Organizational Display

The Organizational Display is one of two accepted methods for describing your organization's demographics in an Organizational Profile. (The other option is Workforce Analysis.) Displayed in list form and based on your organization's Department Hierarchy, the Organizational Display shows race and gender demographics by department for both supervisors and staff personnel.

Organizational Profile

The Organizational Profile provides an overview of an establishment's workforce that helps identify organizational units where minorities or females are underrepresented or concentrated. The contractor must develop either a Workforce Analysis or an Organizational Display to meet this requirement.


When updating data, "Overwrite" means to replace all existing data with the incoming data.

Personnel Action

A Personnel Action is an activity involving the employer that impacts or alters the employment status of an associated individual. Personnel actions in balanceAAP are represented by the following Data Tables:

  • Applicants
  • New Hires
  • Promotions
  • Transfers
  • Terminations
  • User-defined Personnel Action

Personnel Action Date Range

The Personnel Action Date Range is the time period used to evaluate personnel activities so that results (and Placement Goals) can be included in a plan. This time period, which may represent an annual range or an interim (Update Plan) period, precedes the Plan Effective Date Range.

Placement Goal

If protected-class utilization in a Job Group falls below Availability to the level defined by the governing Utilization Rule, a Placement Goal will be set for that group equal to its Availability percentage.

Plan Code

If your organization organizes multiple plans into a Master/Sub-plan set, each plan will be identified by a unique Plan Code. The Plan Code will pull in data for the appropriate employees, tying them to the correct plan.

Plan Effective Date Range

The Plan Effective Date Range is the annual year, going forward, from the plan's effective date. This is the time period, during which your organization will take actions necessary to achieve Placement Goals, set in the plan.

In balanceAAP, this term reflects a tag, or placeholder, in the Narrative templates for this information.

Plan Group

For organizations with a large volume of plans, Plan Group is another management-level option for organizing the display of AAP results. This unit of display is available in the Dashboard, where results for a Master Plan can be organized into groups of sub plans.

Plan Name

The Plan Name simply differentiates AAPs by year and analysis period. For organizations having set of plans (i.e., a Master Plan, supported by sub plans), the Plan Name applies to the Master Plan as a whole; and the sub plans are identified by Company (name) and Establishment (name).


In the simplest use of the term, a pool is a group of employees (or applicants) who were considered for a relevant personnel action (or hiring).

The Applicant Pool is the universe of candidates whowere considered for a job opening, as identified by a job Requisition number. The Promotion or Termination Pool, which comes from the prior year's plan, represents the number of Roster incumbents in the Job Group being analyzed. For promotions and terminations, the pools can also be coded into the relevant Data tables.

Promotion Calculations

An alternative to using identified Feeder Jobs; balanceAAP can make Promotion Calculations, or read feeders from the Promotions and/or Transfers data, if sufficient data are included in the plan's data set.

Protected Class

A Protected Class is a category of persons, covered by provisions of regulations or statutes. In preparing Affirmative Action plan statistics, the protected classes include:

  • Females
  • Minorities
    • Blacks, Asians/Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaskan Natives

  • Protected Veterans
  • Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs)

Protected Veterans

The Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) safeguards the hiring of certain types of Veterans, known as "protected Veterans." In support of these Federal requirements, which are enforced by OFCCP for Federal contractors and other covered entities, balanceAAP generates an AAP Narrative and related metrics for this class of applicants/employees.


In balanceAAP, the term "Publish" refers to two related actions:

  1. The Narrative is considered published, when it includes all merged text and linked statistical results.
  2. When an Affirmative Action plan is completed, the plan creator or owner can "Publish" the plan to the companion Reports portal, where access to plan information is controlled by role-based permissions.

Reasonable Recruitment Area (RRA)

A Reasonable Recruitment Area is the geographic region from which your organization recruits and hires candidates for a work location or a Job Group. In preparing an AAP, the area may range from a specific locality to the entire United States.

balanceAAP is loaded with U.S. census data and tools to help determine the appropriate areas.

Reference Tables

The data set underlying your organization's AAP is comprised of two parts (as reflected in balanceAAP's Data module). The first part includes Reference Tables, which are legends, or keys, for the data coding used in the second part, Data Tables.

For more information, see: BalanceAAP Data Requirements Guide.

Reports In/Reports Out

In a Master/sub-plan set, "Reports In" and "Reports Out" represent the type of reporting connection an annotated employee (whose work and report locations differ) has with a sub plan. Statistics for a sub plan will only include those who: Report In.


A requisition is a job posting, or an order to fill a vacant position. The Requisition Number is useful in AAP data for organizing applicant data, such as indicating the applicant pool for positions, reconciling applicant and new hire data, and developing IWD/Veterans metrics.


For organizations with multiple plans that are organized into a Master/Sub -plan set, Rollups can be created (under Reporting Levels) to display high-level views of plan results, above the sub-plan level.

(Salary) Grades

Grades are defined by an organization to organize, label, and assign pay scales at incremental levels to job titles. Grades are used in balanceAAP to sort job titles for the Workforce Analysis and Job Group Analysis, as required by the regulations.

Sector Reports

Sector reports serve as management-level displays that organize AAP results in ways that reflect an organization's structure. This function can be used to create another level of Reporting Structure for a Drilldown (e.g., departments can be grouped; grades can be divided into pay ranges).

When running a Sector Report, only employees within that Sector will be included in the calculations.


When minorities or women are underutilized in a Job Group, shortfall indicates the deficiency in whole numbers of persons.

Start Point Analysis

If you are creating your organization's first plan in balanceAAP, Start Point Analysis will "recreate" the prior year’s History Data, by taking the current plan's data and rolling back the information to create the necessary "snapshot." It will then calculate Availability and goals, based on the relevant settings in the current plan.

Sub Plan

For organizations with multiple locations, a sub plan represents a location plan. While a group of sub plans is controlled by a Master Plan, customization is available at the Sub-plan level.


In Narratives, a Tag refers to a placeholder, representing text and statistical results that will be merged into the Narrative when it is published.

Update Plan

An Update plan for an interim period (no more than six months) is developed to monitor utilization and measure progress towards goals set in the prior Annual plan.

While a new data set (describing the Roster and personal actions for the interim period) is required, Reference tables, Availability figures, and other settings originate in the existing balanceAAP Annual plan.


In specific terms, Utilization refers to the results of the Incumbency versus Availability analysis. In simpler words, the utilization analysis will show how well minorities and women are represented at your organization, when compared to the number of qualified minorities and women in the "job market."

Utilization Rule

OFCCP has approved a series of Utilization Rules for use in comparing employment and Availability to determine if a Placement Goal will be set. The rules include:

  • Any Difference
  • Whole Person
  • Eighty Percent
  • Eighty Percent/Whole Person
  • Significant Difference


The annual reporting required of Federal contractors by the Veterans Employment Training Service (VETS) has changed over the years. The current VETS-4212 collects data on the total number of protected Veterans employed at your organization, including those recently hired.

Workforce Analysis

The Workforce Analysis meets OFCCP requirements for creating an Organizational Profile, representing your organization's demographics. (The other option is Organizational Display.) This analysis presents race and gender demographics in a table format, by department. The results are displayed by job title, sorted by grade or average salary.