A factor that often gets overlooked in the discussion regarding diversity in organizations is how it impacts the “bottom line.” While there is no shortage of companies “investing” in diversity initiatives, these efforts are either limited or negligible as compared to the missed market opportunities. Additionally, they tend to focus on demographic numbers rather than economic impact or market realities. Given that so called diversity initiatives have been in place at most Fortune 500 organizations for at least two decades, the representation of Latinos, women, and other people of color in their workforce is dismal.
Consider these Latino economic factors: Latinos on average spend more money on a daily basis than the typical adult population in the United States, $96 vs. $90; the number of affluent Latino households, those earning over $100K, is growing; Latinos spend over $90 billion annually on groceries; Latinos will represent more than half of all new home buyers by 2020; and more than 83K, mostly tech savvy Latinos, will turn 18 each month during 2015. The list of statistics can go on and on.
The trouble with most diversity initiatives isn’t the goals – it’s the means. Diversity professionals aren’t speaking the right language – the language of business: profit, marketing, consumption, spending, demand, human capital, income, specialization, trade, and employment. Diversity programs need to be reframed to reflect the priorities of business. Some organizations understand this reality and are adjusting to capture a changing market, others don’t know how.
The U.S. Census projection for U.S. Latinos is just a bit off:
The Hispanic population is expected to reach about 106 million in 2050, about double what it is today, according to new U.S. Census Bureau population projections. But the new Hispanic population projection for 2050 is lower — by nearly 30 million — than earlier population projections published by the bureau.
Microsoft released its diversity numbers yesterday, and they resemble those of other tech giants. Not pretty. I’ll have more to share on the tech industry’s diversity problem in a later post. In the meantime, pictures always speak louder than words.
Workforce Gender – 71% male:
Leadership – 83% male:
Workforce Diversity – Latinos 5%
(Graphic credit: Fortune Magazine)
Jose Villa at the Engage Hispanics blog outlines eight trends impacting the Latino market in 2015 and beyond. An interesting list that shouldn’t be too surprising given the demographic, economic, and political changes we’ve seen over the last decade in the Latino population. Two of the eight trends focus on education, highlighting the increased representation of U.S. Latinos in “non-traditional” regions.
According to the Pew Research Center, there are 17 states where Latino children comprise at least 20% of the public school kindergarten population. Today’s kindergartners offer a glimpse of tomorrow’s demographics – indicating a much more Hispanic population in states like Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho. In states like California and Texas, Hispanics represent the majority of kindergartners.
Pew Hispanic Research reports that the U.S. born Latinos now account for the majority of Latino workers in the United States. The trend is expected to continue for a number of reasons:
It is likely that the share of the Latino workforce that is U.S. born will continue to increase. The U.S. born currently account for most of the growth in the Latino population, and it is uncertain that Latino migrants will return to the U.S. workforce in larger numbers. Some leading economists are of the view that the U.S. has entered a new era of slower economic growth. If so, jobs growth in the future may not be strong enough to reinvigorate immigration from Latin America. The future direction of U.S. immigration policy is also unknown. Finally, demographers have noted that sharp declines in birth rates in Mexico and other Latin American countries may ease the pressure to emigrate to the U.S. in the longer run.
While the talent (knowledge) economy continues to heat up, there’s an inherent risk associated with the wage and workforce gap that’s being created – so says Roger Martin in his article “The Rise and Likely Fall of the Talent Economy:”
Little of the value created by this well-compensated class is trickling down to the general population. “Real wages for the 62% of the U.S. workforce classified as production and nonsupervisory workers have declined since the mid-1970s.” Nor is the situation better for investors. “Across the economy, the return on invested capital, which had been stable for the prior 10 years at about 5%, peaked in 1979 and has been on a steady decline ever since. It is currently below 2% and still dropping, as the minders of that capital, whether corporate executives or investment managers, extract ever more for their services.”
One of my favorites on the subject of diversity is Tanya Odom. She recently shared thoughts on President Obama’s last news conference for 2014. In case you missed it, President Obama took questions only from women reporters; he didn’t call on any male correspondents – by the way, expressions from male reporters in the video link above is priceless.
Tanya refers to President Obama’s goal here as a “teachable moment.” One that highlights what most women and people of color must endure everyday in the workforce, education, and particularly, in the media.
The media exerts a powerful influence on our attitudes. How is it that our world has changed so much in the last decades, and yet, women still lag behind men in prestigious professional roles? Invisibility is harmful. Moreover, people who might have intersecting identities (e.g., black women, Latino gay person) may experience “intersectional invisibility,” which is just as challenging.
Great piece from the NYT on how more Latino agricultural workers are moving from working in the fields to managing agricultural businesses. Latino owned businesses grew 21% from 2007-2012. Sergio SIlva, a high school dropout, is profiled in the video below. With his 30+ years of industry management, Sergio partnered with someone who knew the product – and a new business was born. The new business serves as inspiration for those working in the fields for them today.