• Yulkendy Valdez

If you want to close the skills gap, open the door for Latinos

The future of work, upskilling, and reskilling were trending topics at the Davos Meeting hosted by the World Economic Forum in Switzerland at the beginning of the year.


One can argue that attracting qualified talent is one of our quintessential future of work challenges. I was inspired by reading an article focused on why we should reskill women for the future of work.


Women will be disproportionately affected by digital transformation. So, it makes sense that we need to invest in more reskilling opportunities for women. However, the article did not mention how race or ethnicity plays a role in who ultimately ends up being affected by job automation.

When you look at the U.S alone, the reality is that Latina millennial women are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce. According to an article by NBC News, millennial Latinas with an associate, bachelor, or graduate degree grew 70 percent over the past two decades — from 17 percent of Latinas in 2000 to 30 percent in 2017. This growth rate outpaced both Latino males (56 percent) and non-Latina females (35 percent).


This growth in the labor force is not limited to just women. According to an SHRM report, 1 out of 2 new workers will be Latinos by 2025. As industry leaders discuss how to solve workplace and skills shortages due to the rise of artificial intelligence, Latinos should no longer be ignored as part of the reskilling revolution.


According to research by the Mckinsey Global Institute, Latinos are also overrepresented in repetitive work that requires few digital skills—such as that in hospitality—and are most susceptible to automation using currently available technologies.


Simply put: if you want to close the skills gap, open the door for Latinos. Open the door wide open 🔑🔑.

As simple as this sounds, we know the current statistics in the U.S. labor market, and they don’t look muy bueno. According to major technology companies’ diversity reports, including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple, and Twitter, between 3 percent and 13 percent of the workforce is Hispanic. According to a recent report by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hispanics represent only 4.3% of executive positions in the United States.


We are not leveraging the most powerful demographic in the workforce. If we enable the future generation of Latinos to reach their full potential, imagine the level of innovation and growth we can achieve. If you want to get a picture of what this could do for your employer, or your organization, try out the following best practices:


1. Partner and co-design courses on critical skills needed for your role with an HSI in your city or state to recruit high-potential Latino talent.


In 2014-15, there were 435 HSIs located in 18 states and Puerto Rico. These institutions represented 13 percent of all institutions of higher education but enrolled 62 percent of Hispanic students or 1.75 million Hispanic undergraduates. The number of HSIs is growing.


2. Companies should develop and implement culturally-responsive benefit designs that take into account the extended family make-up of Hispanic millennials.


Hispanic millennials are more likely than other millennials to search for a workplace where they feel comfortable and could see themselves staying for a long time.


3. Train your hiring managers in implicit bias, and even go as far as looking for bilingual hiring managers that speak both Spanish and English.


According to the report titled “Latino Millennials—The New Diverse Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities,” an analysis of hiring trends finds that the race and ethnicity of a hiring manager is a strong determinant of the racial and ethnic backgrounds of those who are hired.


These are 3 easy ways to make your employer brand more attractive to Latinos. Our workplace has long closed the doors on Latino talent for middle to high-skilled jobs. This new decade calls for urgency to change hiring and training processes that meet the demands of this demographic. If the current statistics don’t start to move, there will be real implications for the U.S economy, including losing $1.7 trillion in buying power.