September 15 through October 15 marks the observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Influenced by the civil rights movements during the 1960s and the desire to increase inclusion and appreciation of multicultural identities within the United States, this month-long celebration of the Hispanic started in 1968.
According to the United States Census Bureau, 62.1 million people within the United States identify as Hispanic. This constitutes 18.7% of the total population comprising the largest minority group in the United States.[i] The Hispanic population is expected to reach 111.2 million by 2060, growing at a rate higher than any other ethnic or racial group.[ii]
One of the largest challenges Hispanic employees face currently is the substantial pay gap between average earnings for Hispanic vs. other racial groups. Recent figures published by the U.S. Department of Labor show that both Hispanic men and women have the lowest median annual earning compared to their respective male and female counterparts of other races. In fact, Hispanic women have the lowest median annual earnings of any race/gender intersectional group, earning approximately 62% of white males.
A common misconception is that the underlying cause of this pay gap is due to pay discrimination, where female Hispanic employees are receiving lower pay for the same work compared to that of their male or other racial group counterparts. While this could certainly happen and would contribute to the large pay gap, it’s likely not the root cause in most cases. The issue driving the current pay gap is the distribution of Hispanic employees within most organizations, often referred to as occupational segregation. Hispanic (particularly female Hispanic) employees tend to hold the lowest paying positions, with very little representation in the higher paying positions. This is also compounded by the fact that occupations with the highest concentrations of Hispanics tend to be in industries such as farming, grounds maintenance, and construction (see recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
The biggest step organizations can take to start closing the pay gap for Hispanic employees is to focus on their recruiting, hiring, and promotional practices to ensure they are hiring, developing, training, and promoting Hispanic employees. With greater attention to those efforts, Hispanic employees will start to populate more of the higher paying positions and will close the gap in median annual earnings.
Hispanics are also driving labor force growth with a labor pool of 29 million in 2020 and projected labor force to reach almost 40 million in 2030.[iii] How can organizations tap into this labor pool? With a little creativity and targeted recruiting efforts, organizations can increase the likelihood of attracting and selecting qualified Hispanic candidates:
- Determine what skillset is required for the job opening and reach out to professional organizations for Hispanics that cater to those specific skillsets. Here is just a sampling of professional Hispanic organizations:
- American Association of Hispanic Certified Public Accountants (AAHCPA)
- Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting
- Association of Latino Professionals for America
- The Hispanic Business Student Association
- National Society of Hispanic MBAs
- Consider internships with students enrolled with Hispanic Serving Institutions. These are higher education institutions with at least 25 percent Hispanic students. To learn more about these institutions, visit https://sites.ed.gov/hispanic-initiative/hispanic-serving-institutions-hsis/
- Announce job openings through local Spanish-speaking radio station announcements
- Publish job openings in Spanish-language newspapers and other publications
Tune in to our upcoming webinar where we will discuss ways to attract, place, and retain Hispanic employees as well as ensure they are being paid fairly. Register for the BCGi “Hispanics in the Workplace” webinar today.
[i] Jones, Nicholas, Marks, Rachel, Ramirez, Roberto, & Rios-Vargas, Merarys, “2020 Census Illuminates Racial and Ethnic Composition of the Country,” United States Census Bureau, August 12, 2021, accessed September 12, 2022, https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/08/improved-race-ethnicity-measures-reveal-united-states-population-much-more-multiracial.html#:~:text=The%20Hispanic%20or%20Latino%20population,origin%20grew%204.3%25%20since%202010
[ii] “Hispanic Population to Reach 111 Million by 2060,” United States Census Bureau, October 9, 2018, accessed September 12, 2022, https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/2018/comm/hispanic-projected-pop.html
[iii] Dubina, Kevin, “Hispanics in the Labor Force: 5 Facts,” United States Census Bureau, September 15, 2021, accessed September 12, 2022, https://blog.dol.gov/2021/09/15/hispanics-in-the-labor-force-5-facts#:~:text=The%20number%20of%20Hispanic%20workers%20in%20the%20labor%20force%20has,reach%2035.9%20million%20in%202030