Comprising almost 18 percent of the total U.S. population at over 56.6 million, Latinos are becoming key drivers of the U.S. economic growth with a purchasing power of $1.5 trillion. But despite the economic and demographic clout of this group, Hispanics remain substantially underrepresented in leadership positions and boardrooms across corporate America.

Hispanics held only 3.5 percent of Fortune 500 board seats in 2016, according to The Missing Pieces report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards. This leadership gap is intrinsically linked to the lack of strategies to develop a robust pipeline of Hispanic corporate leaders. 

Changing the workforce

In 2015, there were 26.1 million Hispanics in the U.S. labor force, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 2016 HACR Corporate Inclusion Index, reported that the Hispanic hiring rate has been stalled at 12 percent since 2009, which means that companies are not leveraging relationships with Hispanic-serving institutions, developing effective recruiting strategies or adequately addressing unconscious bias.

“To retain Hispanic talent...companies must understand the cultural nuances.”

Attrition is another challenge companies are facing when trying to build a strong pool of Hispanic talent. In 2016, the average attrition rate for Hispanic employees was 20 percent. To retain Hispanic talent, especially in leadership positions in corporate America, companies must understand the cultural nuances.

Values

Hispanics highly value family, tradition, heritage and hard work. When companies try to reach this community and develop retaining strategies, they must think about those values first. To decrease attrition rates, companies should make more investments in their employee resource groups of affinity groups, which can be extremely effective to not only attract top talent but also to retain Hispanic leaders.

The Pew Research Center estimates that by 2060, Hispanics will represent 28.6 percent of the total U.S. population. Hispanic inclusion in corporate America can no longer be an afterthought. In order to accelerate progress and remain competitive in the marketplace companies must understand cultural nuances, develop sustainable recruiting and retention strategies and educate key stakeholders on unconscious bias.