The Civil Service has recruited a record number of black and minority ethnic graduates onto its Fast Stream training and development programme.
Official figures released by the Cabinet Office revealed 11% of successful candidates in 2006 were from ethnic minorities, up from 7% the previous year.
Graduates are selected on the basis of their potential to reach the senior civil service across a range of roles and departments.
There was also a marked increase in the number of women successfully applying to the scheme. In 2006, 50% of successful candidates were women, an increase from 44% in 2005.
Anne-Marie Lawlor, director of leadership in the Cabinet Office's corporate development group, told Personnel Today: "This year's report shows the proportion of women and ethnic minority candidates has risen and is testament to the work [the Cabinet Office] has done to hone the selection process and skills we look for."
The statistics also showed the Civil Service is extending its reach in attracting graduates from beyond traditional Oxbridge education, which accounted for 31% of candidates recommended for appointment.
However, successful applications from disabled graduates rose by less than 1% in 2006. Lawlor admitted this figure was something "to keep an eye on".