Hispanics represent the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the United States, with approximately 20.8 percent of millennial consumers identifying as Hispanic. Millennial Hispanic consumers are increasingly engaging with companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion initiatives, as this demographic of college graduates still faces hurdles to employment and financial security. The unemployment rate among Hispanic millennials is greater than their White and Asian counterparts at a shocking 16.5 percent, compared to 10.9 percent and 12.2 percent, respectively. All millennial unemployment impacts the greater economy, with one estimate predicting $9 billion (about $28 per person in the U.S.) in tax revenue and benefits lost annually. Millennials also experience a high degree of occupational segregation; they saturate industries with low-wage jobs, where they must compete with similarly qualified Hispanics.
Hispanic millennials’ knowledge of and respect for previous generations’ work-related sacrifices has also shaped their outlook on careers. A vast majority (80 percent) of millennials surveyed said the Great Recession taught them the importance of saving for retirement, the value of a strong work-life balance over higher salaries, and the importance of professional growth opportunities.
Millennials in the U.S. are also significantly more educated than any of the country’s preceding generations. they are “digital natives” whose access to knowledge is powered by social media and the internet. This access gives exposure to the experiences of socially, culturally, and politically different individuals. Social justice efforts following the police killing of George Floyd made activists out of many, particularly millennials, who renewed calls for the dismantling of institutional racism in America. The young people at the heart of this movement have demonstrated how social media can be an effective tool for organizing, evidenced by some of the largest and longest protests in U.S. history.
With public consciousness shifting toward racial equity, there have been calls for Corporate America to provide meaningful solutions to deficient diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Millennials want to work for companies with a diverse workforce and a culture of inclusion. According to an UnidosUS (formerly NCLR) study, Latino Millennials at Work, millennials appreciate working with people who are different from them and understand that a range of perspectives leads to more innovative ideas and improved collaboration.
Millennials also understand that a diverse workforce benefits the bottom line. In a 2015 Deloitte study of 454 global organizations, those with mature diversity and inclusion talent management strategies had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period. Companies in the top quartile of racial and ethnic diversity were 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median. Likewise, for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior executive team, earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rise by 0.8 percent. The investment in diversity and inclusion is both profitable, sustainable, and critical to establishing a long-term relationship with the Hispanic community.
For Corporate America to recruit and retain young Hispanic talent, a commitment to racial equity practices is paramount. Latinx millennials have high career ambitions and value professional growth, and companies must create opportunities for advancement within their organizations to retain talent. With that in mind, here are five ways organizations can recruit and retain millennial Hispanic talent.
- Create structured professional goals: Create opportunities for growth and advancement through structured mentorship and sponsorship programs that promote the advancement of Hispanic talent.
- Utilize internship and paid experience programs: Support newly hired Hispanic millennials as they navigate the leadership pipeline, ensuring they are introduced to sponsorship, mentorship, and Employee Resource Group (ERGs) programs early in their careers. Additionally, organizations should utilize programs to offer paid work experience to Hispanic millennials to ensure they are better prepared to enter the workforce.
- Provide benefits counseling: Clearly communicate the resources and benefits available to this demographic. This may include one-on-one benefits counseling with individual employees or offering enrollment assistance to individuals at every stage of employment. It is important to demonstrate a solid investment in employees’ futures to retain Hispanic talent.
- Highlight Hispanic talent: Proactively recognize the value of diverse perspectives as individuals and within teams. The presence of Hispanics in leadership positions helps retain Hispanic millennials who are earlier in their careers.
- Adopt flexible work arrangements: Develop telecommuting policies that contribute to more manageable work-life balance. As companies have shifted to remote work over the last year, future policies should take into consideration the unique economic and social challenges faced by different demographics that telework might help alleviate.
Combined, recruitment and retention strategies are crucial to the development and growth of a strong relationship between Corporate America and Hispanic millennials. A lack of access to resources in early career can be a determining factor in the professional success of many Hispanic millennials. With Hispanics estimated to become one-fourth of the U.S. population, understanding this community can improve the prospects of this demographic's professional development within an organization.