The Latino Workforce: Engage Before They Walk in the Door

I was browsing through the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program website today (BMPP) exploring their State of Metropolitan America data maps – lots of great information about demographic and social trends impacting the country. Here are two maps I generated comparing Hispanic and non-Hispanic White Median Hourly Wages (click maps to enlarge):

Startling. In regards to these disparate numbers – the associated BMPP report shares this:

 … In 1999, the high-to-low wage ratio—a broad measure of earnings inequality that captures just how far high wage earners have “pulled away” from low wage earners—stood at 4.5; by 2008, it had risen to 5.0, reversing a trend of declining wage inequality in the late 1990s.7 This inequality in turn is associated with unequal wage outcomes in the labor market for workers with different characteristics. For example, middle-wage male workers make 21 percent more than middle-wage female workers; white workers make 29 percent more than black workers and 48 percent more than Hispanic workers…

Obviously, there are many factors impacting these numbers: education, cost of living, age, etc. However, these stark numbers do illustrate that fundamental change across all spheres of our society must occur in order to impact these economic disparities.

In regards to organizations and the Latino workforce – fundamental change will take more than simply creating pro-inclusive policies, implementing diversity initiatives, or designing simple employee resource group models. These types of strategies help but don’t address the underlying issue seen in these maps.

Change demands that organizations craft long-term strategies which will help foster the development and betterment of the Latino community as a whole. It begins with taking an interest in the Latino community and the Latino workforce well before Latino talent enters a company’s walls.