The U.S. workforce is facing a skills shortage that is a threat to the long-term health of our economy. Organizations are experiencing recruitment challenges with its traditional sources of labor. As I’ve noted consistently on this blog, efforts are being made to recruit more Hispanics into the workforce, but with limited success. In the short term, some organizations and industry are filling the skills gap using workers from low wage economies. To meet the challenge of the skills gap the recruitment of Hispanics is no longer simply a nice thing to do; it has become a necessity.
While recruitment remains important, there is a knowledge gap in translating qualifications into employment, and employment into retention. This has been described by the ‘leaky pipeline’ concept. Attraction by itself is not the key to increasing Hispanics in the workforce. Recruitment must be followed by induction of the new employee in order to improve retention levels. Job satisfaction as a result of opportunities and promotion is more likely to retain Hispanic professionals.
The “glass ceiling”, the situation where women and minorities can see, but not reach higher level positions and are prevented from progressing in their careers, still exists in many occupations and industries. As I’ve noted on this blog, there are very few Hispanic chairpersons, CEOs, or COOs in the United States. This ongoing fact is important because it raises the debate about the advancement in the subject of inclusivity, assessing the real barriers faced by Hispanic professionals today and discussing means of redressing the balance to improve inclusivity in organizations. Expanding inclusivity, which includes attracting and retaining more Hispanic professionals in all industry sectors, needs to be a key priority for organizations, particularly those in participating in a global economy.
A skilled Hispanic workforce is emerging. While it is clear that more still needs to be done to fully develop a professional Hispanic workforce, it is clear that there could be many more Hispanics if organizations adopted better recruitment and retention policies now.