Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Hispanic Heritage Month: The Economic Imperative of Celebrating Diversity

 



When I came to the US from Spain 20 years ago, nobody talked about diversity and inclusion (D&I), and the US Hispanic market was considered niche.

A year after I arrived here, Ken Tuchman, the CEO and founder of TTEC – a leading customer experience company – approached me and said: I am looking for someone to lead business development targeting the US Hispanic market, and I think you can do this.  

I have to admit, when Ken told me his idea, I was skeptical. Soon, however, as I started doing my own research, I realized he was a visionary.

He knew that strategically reaching out to the Hispanic population in the US was a great market opportunity, and after we launched this initiative, a number of top-tier companies became clients of the company’s Hispanic line of business. This experience opened my eyes to the US Hispanic community, its culture and its potential.

 Here we are, 19 years later, and I could not be happier that Russell Reynolds Associates is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. We all know that acknowledging the importance of this community is the right thing to do, but there are also economics that support this beyond a social point of view. I truly hope that celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month will help us understand the strength behind the US Hispanic/Latinx community.

Let’s look at the data

The Hispanic community remains an important part of the nation’s overall demographic story. The US Hispanic population reached a record 60.6 million in 2019, up from 50.7 million in 2010, according to newly released US Census Bureau  population estimates . Between 2010 and 2019, the Hispanic share of the total US population increased from 16 percent to 18 percent – accounting for about half (52 percent) of all US population growth over this period.

People of Hispanic descent are already the country’s second largest racial or ethnic group, behind white non-Hispanics. And Unidos US , a non-partisan Latinx civil rights and advocacy organization, projects that in five years, Hispanics will account for about 20 percent of the US workforce – growing to over 30 percent by 2050.

Forbes published an article last year that highlights the entrepreneurial spirit among Hispanic new arrivals to the US, noting that they “have exceeded contemporary native-born Americans and some other migrant groups in their entrepreneurial capabilities and integration into economically relevant parts of the workforce.” This entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with the enormous projected labor force growth of the Hispanic community, means that people of Hispanic descent currently and will continue to undergird a significant part of the US economy – and represent strong market opportunities for every type of financial institution, including banks, insurance companies, asset managers and FinTechs.

Recognizing diversity within the community

It is important to note that there is no singular Hispanic culture across the Latin nations. Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Salvadorans and Cubans can be as culturally different from each other as the various European nationalities remain culturally distinct. It is in the United States, where varied Hispanic peoples’ experience coexists with North American culture, that the consciousness of being part of a single Hispanic world has been emerging among the community. Yet while there may be similarities in the way various people of Hispanic descent have acculturated, we must move away from viewing the US Hispanic community as a monolith.

There are economic, social and political implications to this topic. Talking to our clients about the importance of this community both in the near and long term, sensitizing them to the differences inherent to the various Hispanic communities, and presenting a diverse candidate slate that helps them ensure their workforce reflects the world around them is the right thing to do – both from a D&I perspective and also to help us position ourselves as truly trusted advisors to support our clients’ growth and future vision.

I hope that shining a spotlight on the contributions of the Hispanic community by celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month will also help us to attract more Latinx/Hispanic consultants to the firm. In order to improve the way the world is led, we need to walk the talk and embrace diversity from the inside out and by doing so I hope it will, in addition, encourage other companies to expand the number of their Hispanic executive hires.

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Hispanic Heritage Month: The Economic Imperative of Celebrating Diversity