From a small minority to half the population: Hispanics are becoming an important part of the diversity and inclusion discussion.

If the GDP of the U.S. Latino population were measured as a country, it would be the 7th largest in the world. Remarkably, we will represent over half the U.S. workforce by 2050 even though only 10 CEOs in the Fortune 500 are Hispanic. 

There are 4.4 million Latino-owned businesses in the U.S., yet Hispanics are not generally included in the Diversity and Inclusion discussion. I care about this because I’m one of the 119 million Hispanics who will make up nearly 30% of the U.S. population in less than five years. 

Demographics aren’t the only issue. There is also an absence of positive portrayals of Hispanics in our media. A recent study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School, called the Inclusion Initiative, found that Latino actors represented only 3% of lead or co-lead roles in movies and on television over the past 12 years. When Hispanic actors were cast, nearly a quarter of the roles were portrayed as criminals, poor or isolated people. 

Statistics are important, but as CCOs we can – and I argue we must – use our influence to create a real shift in our hiring processes: 

  • Apply your awareness of the demographics into decision-making frameworks used by the senior leadership team. One way to do this is to use data and perspectives from your company’s business resource groups (BRGs). They can help influence decisions that will affect Hispanic employees.
  • Include more Hispanic views in the key competencies of your company. If a key competency is Engineering, seek out Hispanic engineers’ views on how to improve and mature your competitive discriminators.
  • Expand Hispanics throughout the interview process at every level. Ask Hispanic employees to engage more in the hiring process. This will demonstrate your company’s commitment to hire and nurture more Hispanic employees. 

As leaders, the key is to have the ability to relate, work and lead people who are not like us. If we mentor and hire people who are different than we are we will close the gap from 14% of the hiring being Hispanic to numbers that represent the total available workforce.