Offsetting the Talent Gap with the Hispanic Workforce

Many would argue that the success of any organization is founded on one vital element: its openness to new ideas; the ability of the organization to recognize and utilize the creative forces of its employees. Progress has always come from ideas and human ingenuity. However, globalization has made the competition for human ingenuity fiercer and harder to obtain. Many other countries now compete for the brightest minds, specifically in high-end technology and science. To remain competitive and innovative, organizations (and the United States) must fully exploit untapped talent pools that reside within its borders as well continue to attract new talent beyond its borders.

An integral part of economic success in the United States has been the arrival of immigrant talent. Over the course of American history, the United States embraced scientific, intellectual, cultural, and entrepreneurial immigrants which have helped shape and enrich the country. Two recent examples are Sergey Brin, the Moscow-born co-founder of Google, and Hotmail cofounder Sabeer Bhatia,who grew up in Bangalore.

Today, we see an ominous trend developing. Skilled immigrants are pursuing careers elsewhere, raising concerns that the U.S. could potentially lose its competitive advantage in science, technology and other important fields. Consequences of this trend can be seen in Business Week’s 2008 –  High Tech 100 listing where 7 of the top 10 companies demonstrating the strongest growth are based outside of the United States.

     1  AMAZON –  U.S.
     2  APPLE – U.S.
     3  RESEARCH IN MOTION – Canada
     4  NINTENDO – Japan
     5  WESTERN DIGITAL – U.S.
     6  AMÉRICA MÓVIL – Mexico
     7  CHINA MOBILE – China
     8  NOKIA – Finland
     9  ASUSTEK COMPUTER – Taiwan
  10  HIGH TECH COMPUTER – Taiwan

We have long been told of the looming talent shortage gap – this is no longer a prediction – it has arrived. One doesn’t have to be a mathematician to realize that all sources of talent, including foreign talent, are needed to address this talent shortage. In the context of this issue, organizations stand to benefit from the growing Hispanic talent market. Many organizations are already realizing that they have not fully tapped the Hispanic workforce and are increasing their efforts to recruit more Hispanic employees – particularly Hispanic college graduates.  Of course, increasing opportunities for Hispanics will take a multi-pronged approach which is founded on education, awareness, and cultural understanding. By developing fully the Hispanic workforce, organizations will not only remain competitive but so will the United States.