Tag Archives: workforce

Oh, Those Annoying False Narratives

One of the more annoying arguments in the immigration debate is that undocumented immigrants coming to this country take jobs away and have a negative effect on the economy.  These recurring arguments make terrific sound bites and usually appeal to the emotional and uninformed voter, especially during hard economic times.  And yet these are the false viewpoints that still guide today’s immigration policy debate.

Over the years there have been numerous studies which debunk these false narratives. Here’s another by the Urban Institute.

In short, this study and others demonstrate that immigrants help to fill gaps in our labor market, immigrants complement rather than replace existing workers, and increase, not lower, wages and productivity.

The Urban Institute’s study again helps to quash the notion that immigrants are “stealing” American jobs.  In fact, as the study points out, many low skilled immigrants and native workers aren’t competing for the same jobs.  If this isn’t enough evidence, a recent study by PEW suggests that immigrants are “much more likely than U.S. foreign workers to be self-employed.” From a Latino perspective, immigrants were nearly twice as likely as U.S. born Latinos to be self-employed.  So in other words, the PEW study suggests that immigrants are in fact job creators (aka entrepreneurs) not job takers!

So don’t fall into believing this overused false narrative.

And while it seems that immigration reform won’t happen anytime soon, when it does, let’s hope it’s developed based on facts – not fiction.

No Equity in Sight

If you’ve not had a chance to read through Fast Company’s Strong Female Leader series, I’d encourage you to do so. Gender equity topics regarding leadership, pay, and entrepreneurship paint a picture of how much more work is still needed in the corporate world.

A recent addition examines the gender pay gap by industry. Consider the following statement and then review the graphic below.

There is no industry where women earn equal to or than men overall, even when controlling for all measured compensable factors.

Graphic via PayScale.com

Latinos and Women Still Earn Less

Latinos, women, and other people of color still earn less than white men, even with similar education levels.


Among workers age 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree, median weekly earnings in 2014 were $1,385 for men and $1,049 for women. Black or African American workers with at least a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $970 in 2014, compared with $1,219 for White workers with the same level of education. Asians with at least a bachelor’s degree had median weekly earnings of $1,328. The median for Hispanic or Latino workers with that level of education was $1,007 per week.


Contributing, Supporting, And NOT Weakening

A Partnership for a New American Economy report highlights the economic punch both native and foreign-born Latinos provide, particularly in states like California and Texas:

In some states, Hispanics now account for a large percentage of spending power and tax revenues overall. In both Texas and California, Hispanic households had more than $100 billion in after-tax income in 2013, accounting for more than one of every five dollars available to spend in each state that year. In Arizona, a state with a rapidly growing Hispanic population, their earnings after taxes accounted for almost one-sixth of the spending power in the state. In Florida, Hispanics contributed more than one out of every six dollars in tax revenue paid by residents of the state.

The data also shows how Latino tax revenues put more into Medicare and Social Security programs than they take out:

Hispanics, and foreign-born Hispanics in particular, play an important role sustaining America’s Medicare and Social Security programs. In 2013, Hispanic households contributed more than $98 billion to Social Security and almost $23 billion to the Medicare’s core trust fund. Foreign-born Hispanics in particular contributed more than $46 billion to Social Security, while paying in more than $10 billion to the Medicare program. Past studies have indicated that in Medicare in particular, immigrants draw down far less than they put in to the trust fund each year, making such tax contributions particularly valuable.

Rian Bosse tells companies to take notice:

With the growth, Latinos represent more purchasing power and are becoming the “backbone” of the economy in the United States while more and more enter the middle and upper classes, Cartagena said. One in six consumers in the country are already Hispanic and, since 2000, the percent of the Latino population making over $100,000 a year has doubled from 7 to 13 percent.

The full New American Economy report can be found here.

Thawing Out the Frozen Middle

Expanding diversity in organizations often focuses on increasing the “pipeline” – the flow of diversity talent coming into the organization. However, I agree with Sarah McBride and Noel Randewich who assert an organization has a lot of enough diverse talent within its own corporate walls – the authors draw upon Intel’s recent announcement of investing $300 million to diversify the company’s workforce noting the money should be focused somewhere else:

Diversity advocates say seizing on the supply issue can obscure other causes.

“They are blaming the pipeline for their own faults,” said Vivek Wadhwa, author of “Innovating Women,” noting that many technology companies no longer consider degrees of any sort, including computer science (CS), a requirement for employment.

He and others say technology companies should look inward, working on making themselves attractive to qualified women and minority candidates who avoid or abandon technology careers.

Of all science and engineering graduates, only about 31 percent of males and 15 percent of females work in related occupations, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Just 17 percent of African Americans with science and engineering degrees go on to work in related jobs.

To draw women and minorities, Intel should make managers accountable to specific diversity goals and measure progress through employee surveys, said Katherine Kimpel, a lawyer specializing in discrimination at Sanford Heisler Kimpel LLP.

Lori Nishiura Mackenzie, executive director of Stanford University’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research, said Intel should spend the bulk of its cash on what she called “the frozen middle” just below the top executives.

Our Growing Hyphenated America

So implies Shikha Dalmia who also contends the immigration assimilation argument is often a myth, especially when it relates to Latinos:

But such snapshot comparisons between the attitudes of naturalized and native-born citizens tell us nothing about the assimilability of modern immigrants compared to past immigrants — a good third of whom returned home because they didn’t like America. What’s more, assimilation is a multi-generational process that by all available metrics seems to be proceeding just fine. For example, restrictionists consider Latinos the most resistant to assimilation because of their tenacious fondness for Spanish and their relative proximity to their homeland. Still, 91 percent of the children and 97 percent of the grandchildren of Mexican immigrants to America speak English as their dominant language.

Victoria Stilwell expects this “majority minority” to have significant economic impact in the coming years. Continue reading

The Talent Bowl of the World

Inaugural class of the CSIT-In-3 program, scheduled to graduate in 2016

Krista Almanzan’s great piece on Cal State University, Monterey Bay, and Hartnell Community College’s three-year, intensive bachelor’s degree program in computer science and information technology targeting the largely Hispanic Salinas Valley. Despite a successful first year, the program’s director, Joe Welch, faces the typical funding challenges as well as the larger issue of getting Silicon Valley companies to give these students an opportunity to apply their skills:

Connecting with prospective employers is where program organizers are already facing their own challenge. Welch says in trying to secure summer internships, they’re finding many of the brand-name, Silicon Valley tech companies are used to dealing with brand-name schools.

“Frankly, they’re so comfortable, they’re not reaching outside that student stream,” he says.

Many of the CSIT-In-3 students are from historically disadvantaged backgrounds and first-generation college students. Welch says he doesn’t want them to get a handout. He just wants Silicon Valley to give them a fair shake, especially since companies have said they want to give these students an opportunity.

Diversity Begins with Us

Unconscious bias is seen as a significant factor for the lack of diversity in organizations and industries. The idea focuses on individual biases, perceptions, and behavior. While organizational diversity and inclusion attempts can provide policy and process, these initiatives often fail to address the human element involved in developing an inclusive work environment. Organizations have developed interesting ways to try and overcome unconscious bias including awareness training, mentoring programs, and “resume scrubbing.”  Remarkably, Google, an organization with a 70% male workforce, shares a detailed overview of the concept below, and how we can try to overcome it.

Unconscious bias is a complex and wide-ranging topic, and it’s an issue that will get more attention here in the coming months, particularly when it comes to Latino workforce issues.