By Tammy Ramos, J.D.
The competitive war for diverse talent today is fierce. Latinas warrant particular strategic focus in every sector, as they are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce today. They are the next generation of leaders and talent.
The competitive war for diverse talent today is fierce. Organizations across industries are scrambling to figure out how to position themselves as an employer of choice with women and people of color. The Great Recession exacerbated an already tight labor market. As a result, employers are asking, how do we proactively and effectively attract, recruit and promote diverse talent? Informed organizations recognize the high cost of turnover, recruitment, onboarding and lost productivity due to poor engagement or low morale.
Latinos are the fastest growing demographic in the workforce today. A few critical statistical points are as follows:
- Latinos contributed $2.6 trillion to the US economy in 2018 which was a 9% increase from 2017
- If U.S. Latinos were a stand-alone country, they would account for the 8th largest GDP in the world – larger than the GDPs of Italy, Brazil or South Korea.
- In 2020 U.S. Latino purchasing power rose to 11.1% – $1.9 trillion – growing 70% faster than non – Latinos.
- Latinos are the largest ethnic group in US, 18.7%
- Latinos are projected to be one fifth of the labor force by 2024
- Of the six million K-12 students who attend California public schools, over half 3,320,300 – 55.30% are Latino.
In particular, Latinas warrant particular strategic focus in every sector. They make significant purchasing decisions in families and now account for 1 of 5 women in the US and are projected to be 1 in 3 by 2060 US Census. They are incredibly industrious, resilient, hard-working, creative and able to multi-task as they continue to take on the majority responsibility of caring for home and family. Despite some inequities and setbacks due to COVID-19, college degree attainment among Latinos has increased substantially in recent years. In fact, 24% of Latino adults in the U.S. now hold a college degree, up from 19 percent a decade ago.
Latinas are more than consumers; they are the next generation of leaders and talent. They are innovating, making products and services better, and driving business results. From 2018 to 2028, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of Latinos in the labor force to increase by about 7.4 million—more than any other age, sex, or race or ethnic group. BLS.
The question is, how does an organization attract, retain and promote Latina talent?
- Invest in Professional Development: Oftentimes first-generation Latinas do not have the skillsets to know how to manage their careers and navigate a professional life. Many are the first in their families to obtain a college degree and work in a corporate environment. They need to learn how to make themselves visible, develop executive presence, network and communicate effectively. When an organization invests in their leadership, it communicates that they are valued and have a place for upward mobility. This will engender loyalty and a deeper commitment to stay and not quickly accept a better offer from a recruiter or competitor. Additionally, organizations will enjoy the benefit of an employee who is ready to be a strategic partner in the business.
- Create a Sponsorship Program: Women and people of color are less likely to have a sponsor than whites. In fact, 71% of sponsors said that they were either the same race or gender as their sponsee. Those who are sponsored are significantly more likely to be promoted and earn 11.6% more than those who are not sponsored. Unfortunately, leaders tend to sponsor those who are like them. Organizations like LinkedIn have very intentional Sponsorship Programs so that high potential diverse employees are matched with a senior leader inside the organization. These formal Sponsor/Sponsee relationships have proven to effectively open doors and opportunities for career advancement. Harvard Business Review
- Create and Support Latino ERGs: Too often Latino Employee Resource Groups are underfunded and overworked which can create low morale and discouragement among Latinos. Organizations must be deliberate to create a vision and collaboration with Latino ERG leaders so that they are a true strategic partner in the business. ERGs are a rich source of information. Tap into their experiences, ask for their advice on new products and services, invite them to support broadening the organizations network and visibility with the Latino community. Give them financial resources beyond the ability to bring in a speaker for National Hispanic Heritage Month and an Executive Sponsor who will partner and support their goals.
- Make Your Brand Resonate with Latinas: Industry leaders today are making substantial ESG investments (Environmental, social, and corporate governance). Showcase the investment you are making into the professional development of your current Latino employees, your Latino ERG and your partnerships with the Latino community and strategic partners. Incorporate best practices from organizations like Proctor and Gamble who is creating cosmetic products to meets the needs of women with darker skin tones or curly hair. Collaborate with your ERGs to invest and support the community organizations that support the Latino neighborhoods, schools and small businesses to show your support and commitment in meaningful ways.
- Partner with Latino organizations and community: As the saying goes, you are known by the company you keep. There are Latino organizations that are devoted to the leadership development and advancement of Latinos. Building partnerships with these organizations gives you access to Latino talent, networks and even new customers for your products and services. For example, LatinaVIDA, a non-profit inspiring and equipping the next generation of Latina executives, provides a broad range of culturally relevant services to organizations like Cisco, LinkedIn, Bank of the West, Equinix, Kaiser Permanente and more. Services include: leadership development, individual career coaching, ERG boot camp and Sponsorship matching programs.
These five steps are an essential part of your organization’s DEI Playbook with a focus on attracting and retaining one of the largest consumer segments in the nation today. Any business leader seeking to grow the bottom line has to look carefully at their strategy to engage Latinas—they truly are your future employees, consumers and leaders.
Tammy Ramos, J.D. is a proud first-generation Latina who is the Executive Director for LatinaVIDA, a non-profit which supports an organization’s DEI goals by equipping the next generation of Latina executives to rise to the top in their careers. Tammy Ramos 707-208-5446
 Passel, J, U.S. Hispanic population continued its geographic spread in the 2010s, Pew Research Center, February 3, 2022
 Chapa, C., Latinos’ Degree Completion Has Increased but Acceleration Is Still Needed to Close Equity Gaps, Excelencia in Education, August 11, 2020
 Kennedy, J. The Sponsorship Divide, Coquel 2019
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