Monthly Archives: June 2011

Still Playing Catch Up

A cool report by Georgetown University, “What’s it Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors”, just came out and is filled with interesting salary data. The report is based on Census data and found that majors are segregated by race and gender.

Field of study obviously impacts long-term earnings of college graduates with science and technology majors earning more than social science and humanities majors. Another key finding is not a surprise: women’s wages are lower than those of men. The same can be said of other minorities including Latinos:

Hispanics earn the most with a major in Mechanical Engineering ($70,000 median). However, the median for Hispanics is$13,000 less than the median for Whites with the same major.

Hispanics earn the least in Theology and Religious Vocation majors with median earnings of $30,000, which is less than the White and African-American medians in this field.

Multi-Racial in America

The New York Times has an excellent piece regarding the emergence of multi-racial students. 

…the number of applicants who identify themselves as multiracial has mushroomed, adding another layer of anxiety, soul- (and family-tree-) searching and even gamesmanship to the process.  The new options have forced colleges to confront thorny questions, including how to account for various racial mixes in seeking diversity on campus…

While focused on colleges, the article is also relevant to businesses, non-profits, or anyone interested in knowing what the future workforce will resemble. Organizations will gain from some awareness of how the needs of multiracial individuals might be distinct from those who self-identify as a “single race.” This type of awareness can help leaders to change organizational cultures and to help them in serving an increasing population of people.

Organizations You Should Know

Just came across this fantastic program aimed at supporting Latino men through the educational pipeline. Project MALES aims to create and cultivate a support network for Latino male students at UT-Austin, within local school districts, and throughout the surrounding community.

While all Latinos need support, it is especially true of young Latino men who are showing a widening educational gap as compared Latinas’ educational progress. Kudos to the research team at UT Austin for establishing this great program in cooperation with Austin schools and the surrounding community.

Check them out when you have a chance.

College Grad's Uphill Climb

Ouch. Ronald Brownstein describes the situation for the class of 2011. Money quote:

Students now finishing their schooling—the class of 2011—are confronting a youth unemployment rate above 17 percent. The problem is compounding itself as those collecting high school or college degrees jostle for jobs with recent graduates still lacking steady work. “The biggest problem they face is, they are still competing with the class of 2010, 2009, and 2008…”

Being Part of the "Below 1%" Group

Obtaining a doctorate was something I never dreamed of growing up. Neither was attending college for that matter. As many other Latinos, my goals were limited by my perceptions and social environment so education was not high on my list – work was. It wasn’t shared directly, but the consensus from those that knew was – I wasn’t “college material.”

It took many years to overcome that perception, and ironically, it’s a perception that impacted me in other areas during my career . It wasn’t until I obtained my doctorate a couple of years ago that I was SHOCKED to discover the microscopic number of Latinos who have earned a Ph.D or Doctorate. I realize I was not alone in carrying these perceptions, that I wasn’t good enough, and it’s the same perceptions many young Latinos still carry today.  

As I review the graph below (via NewsTaco and Villescas Research), it does make me realize the significance of being part of a small number of Latinos with this title. And while I’m proud of my educational accomplishment, it’s also a bitter-sweet reminder of the uphill road we as a community still have to climb.

Let’s change those perceptions for all Latinos – anything is possible.

Remembering Bobby Kennedy

As was the case during his life, the legacy of Robert Kennedy continues to support and recognize the importance of the Latino community. I was 5 years old growing up in Los Angeles when RFK was assassinated 43 years ago today. Even at that young age, I distinctly remember and understood the sadness and grief experienced throughout our community during those horrible days. Who can forget the images of Doleres Huerta, a leader in Cesar Chavez’s Farm Workers Union, at the podium with RFK moments after winning the California primary and minutes before being shot.

Today, RFK’s legacy lives on through the RFK  Center for Justice and Human Rights which recognizes leaders in the area of Human Rights. Many of RFK’s ideals still live today. In 2010 the organization recognized Abel Barrera Hernandez, the founder of one of the most respected and successful human rights organizations in Mexico.

Emotionally Connect with Latino Talent

The importance of “emotional connection” in marketing and recruitment cannot be understated. Latino consumer emotional connections go beyond a brand’s logical characteristics. For many Latinos, an emotional connection is created psychologically- often unconsciously. The same can be said about prospective Latino employees. Today’s Latino job seekers search for an organization that has an increased sense of purpose and commitment to the Latino community. Hence, the same characteristics that help position brands to Latinos can also help promote an organization as an employer of choice.

This emotional connection is especially true of Latino talent. My doctorate work focused on the emotional intelligence attributes of Latino professionals and showed that Latinos are highly influenced by emotional intelligence when making decisions. As a result, when Latino job seekers make decisions about which organizations to join, they will often follow their emotional instincts.

I came across this great study by the consulting firm Garcia Trujillo and Newslink (video below) which highlights the emotional connection organizations have with Latinos, or lack thereof. Unfortunately, many organizations still fail in doing so. According to the results:

About one-in-three Hispanics (35%) believe they get a fair shake in the workplace, but nearly two-thirds (65%) report that Hispanic workers face serious obstacles to advancement….

 60% [of Latinos] believe U.S. companies are committed to their Hispanic employees; however, when asked to estimate how many Hispanics are currently in management or in leadership roles in companies in the U.S., most Hispanics thought it was 10% or less.  Still, more than nine of ten respondents said that it is “very important” (63%) or “important” (34%) for U.S. companies to hire Hispanics in management positions.

My research and this study clearly show that it takes more than branding to recruit and retain Latino talent. Organizations need to “emotionally connect” with Latino talent to effectively recruit them. Organizations not only have to present a compelling reason to attract Latino talent, but provide a better reason to keep them.