Monthly Archives: July 2017

Can You Meet Client Diversity Expectations?

Interesting article via Accounting Today highlighting Facebook’s law firm requirement that 33% of staff must be comprised of women and ethnic minorities.

As this article suggests, most CPA firms could not meet this requirement.

AICPA reports in the most recent “Trends” report that only three percent of new hires were Black/African-American and eight percent were Hispanic/Latino. So, it would be easy to conclude that many CPA firms could not comply with Facebook’s new requirement for ethnic diversity.

Who Has the Answers?

Do diversity initiatives work?

Some studies suggest that the effort to diversify the C-suite and boardroom has reached an impasse. Others suggest we’re moving along nicely.  But how long will it take?  Five years? Just another 10 years? Longer?  Two years ago on this blog, I wrote about a quick business article search I conducted on the topic of diversity. At the time, I had gone back  44 years to read what business journals were writing regarding the benefits of a diverse workforce.

About the same time I shared this post about the status of people of color and women on corporate boards.   Despite their increased representation in the workforce, the number of Latino CEO’s and board of directors has remained the same or decreased since I wrote these two posts.

So it really does beg the question – do diversity initiatives work? Perhaps a better question is why do they fail? I don’t know.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen the increased numbers of diversity and inclusion services and experts tout the important work they do. They seem to be doing great for themselves. Yet, the numbers remain the same. Why? Many of their clients have the worst diversity and inclusion numbers out there. Are they part of the problem?

Is it easier (and cheaper) for organizations to invest in window dressing initiatives rather invest the time and resources needed to diversify their leadership? Perhaps change their culture? I don’t have the answers.

One reason might be that many organizations are not as transparent as they should with their data. Another could be the perception that years of diversity talk is just talk – talk without the walk. Or could it be all the research that aims to diversify the workplace can’t even agree on whether mandatory or voluntary diversity strategies are best?

Who knows. I certainly don’t.

But I would also argue that no one else does.

The Tale of Two Reports

I spent a couple of hours today searching for current data on Latino educational attainment and outcomes, specifically in the area of post-secondary education. I was a bit frustrated. Reports were either incomplete or dated.

Finally, I was able to find two good reports, both published this year, which provided detailed analysis. One report was from Department of Education’s (DOE) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) entitled Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2017. This is a comprehensive report outlining the progress and challenges faced by different racial and ethnic groups.   The second report was from the American Council on Education’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy (CPRS) entitled Pulling Back the Curtain: Enrollment and Outcomes at Minority Serving Institutions. This report was also a comprehensive examination of educational data but focused on minority serving institutions in the United States.

Frankly, I was left a bit disheartened after reviewing the NCES report. Latinos are indeed making strides. For example, Latinos doubled the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded between 2003-04 and 2013-2014. Yet, Latinos still lag well behind other racial and ethnic groups in regards to overall post-secondary attainment. Expecting the same results, I turned my attention to the CPRS report and was pleased, but puzzled, to read this:

The completion rate for exclusively full-time students at public two-year Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) was 40.3 percent using NSC data, compared to the federal graduation rate of 25.5 percent. The NSC total completion rate for public four-year HSIs was approximately 50 percent and 74.1 percent for exclusively full-time students, compared to a federal graduation rate of 42.7 percent.

Why the difference?

As compared to the NCES report, CPRS “aimed to paint a more complete” attainment and outcome picture by using data beyond that collected by the DOEcation. Another key difference between the reports is this:

As the NSC data show, the majority of students at HSIs do not attend college exclusively full time, which is significant since higher education policy is still largely rooted in the notion of a “traditional” student body that among other attributes attends college full time.

In other words, DOE education attainment reports factor in ALL educational institutions, post-secondary in this case. This is no fault of the DOE but does shed light on my initial gloomy reaction. These two reports also underscore the need to present information in a way that reveals a clearer picture of educational attainment by Latinos in the United States.

Time Has Flown By….

A lot has happened since January 2016, the last time I posted to my blog.

As most, I’ve been incredibly busy with work, family, and a host of other commitments. Over this long hiatus, this blog has been in the back of my mind for a number of reasons. An itch that I’ve been unable to scratch. I won’t delve into the obvious ones regarding the political environment. However, it’s one of the main reasons why reviving this blog matters now more than ever.

What I do understand is that we need more voices supporting the Latino workforce and community. And while I’ve not written much over the last two years, my lack of online visibility doesn’t mean I’ve lost interest. I’ve been an avid student, observer, and curator of information impacting the Latinos. On so many levels, examining the opportunities and challenges facing the Latino workforce is more important today than it was eight years ago when I started this blog.

So it’s time to dust off some of the cobwebs, update some software, and get back to it.

I’ll see you soon.