How can companies take advantage of global migration trends to gain a share of the growing Latino market? What must corporate leaders know to tap into this burgeoning talent pool?
Pew Hispanic Center’s Associate Director Dr. Mark Hugo Lopez provided answers to these and other questions in a fact-filled presentation at DiversityInc’s global-learning event.
“With the growing diversity of the U.S. labor force,” said Lopez, “the Latino community is playing a large role in many of those changes.”
Here’s how Latinos will be impacting the corporate workforce landscape:
- Latinos had the largest population growth spurt over the past decade. In 2000, the Latino population hit 34.8 million (12.6 percent), making it the largest underrepresented group in the nation. By 2009, that number grew to 47.4 million, or 15.8 percent of the population. That number continues to grow; Census 2010 data shows 50.5 million (16 percent) of people in the United States were Latino. And although much of this growth has come from immigration, “in this past decade, births to Hispanic mothers have outpaced immigration as a source of population growth,” explained Lopez.
- Growth in the working-age population (25–44) has largely come from the Latino population, while the number of whites has declined. This means that companies looking to build a pipeline of diverse talent must step up their outreach efforts to include organizations and influencers of Latinos.
- Latinos represent the second-largest single group of foreign-born people, after Asians. While the Asian/Pacific Islander population represented 62.2 percent of all foreign-born people in the United States, Latinos in 2009 were about half that at 37.3 percent. “We’re in the middle of a huge immigration wave,” said Lopez. “And in the coming decades, the biggest component of population is going to be coming from the Hispanic population.”
- By 2050, Pew projects Latinos will be about 29 percent of the U.S. population. At the same time, less than half of the population (47 percent) will be white in 2050.
- Today, Latinos are more dispersed geographically. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen Hispanic growth in virtually every county in the United States,” says Lopez, citing Nebraska, Iowa and rural areas of Washington state as new destinations for Latinos.
- Latinos represented 14.4 percent of the labor force, “but, frankly, many are young and haven’t even entered the labor force yet,” explains Lopez.
- Educational attainment among Latinos is relatively low. Unlike other immigrant groups that enter the United States to pursue a degree, Lopez points out, Latinos largely come here to work. In 2009, 10.2 percent held associate degrees, 6.8 percent held bachelor’s degrees and only 5.2 percent had graduate degrees.
Prior to joining the Pew Hispanic Center, Lopez was research director at University of Maryland’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE); he was also research assistant professor at the School of Public Policy. Lopez received his Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University.