Viewing Hispanics as your Next Competitive Edge

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tom_kadalaOpinion: Many CEOs are Ignoring Warning Signals about Emerging Hispanics

Alarming statistical data on the rapidly growing Hispanic population appears to be falling on deaf ears.  Statements such as “25 percent of the U.S. population will be of Hispanic descent by 2050” or “Hispanic purchasing power will reach $1 trillion by 2010” or “the average age of 60 percent of Hispanics in the U.S. today is 13 years-old” have dominated the headlines for the past year.

Why then have issues of this great significance practically become a ‘non-issue’ among our corporate leaders?

There are two key reasons why CEO’s may appear to be ignoring these warning signals.  First, their marketing departments and ad agencies may be telling them that Hispanics will eventually respond similarly to their existing ad campaigns as general market consumers; hence, eliminating the need to invest differently in this consumer group, long term.

Secondly, their human resource departments may be having difficulty filling job openings with qualified Hispanic candidates; hence, sending the message to CEO’s that the urgency to hire Hispanic employees has been potentially exaggerated.

The striking parody between corporations looking for new ways to connect with Hispanic consumers and Hispanic professionals seeking meaningful employment within these same firms underscores some of the key issues that leaders need to address.  If the ‘top brass’ at major corporations do not help Hispanics to secure senior-level management positions, how then can their respective CEO properly approve a strategy to win over Hispanic consumers?  Moreover, if a company’s CEO is not a strong advocate for nurturing diversity within the workplace, how then can their human resources department attract and retain the qualified Hispanic candidates that CEOs need to develop effective strategies?

The optimal solutions for gaining favor among Hispanic consumers may vary from company to company.   Certainly recruiting more Hispanic employees is a good start.  Another idea would be to develop educational forums on Hispanic cultural differences for existing employees.  Having both new hires and existing employees on the same page will allow for a more effective exchange of ideas.  Despite these and other efforts to include Hispanics, the importance of having Hispanic professionals at key decision-making levels is paramount.

Without it upper management may fail to recognize the warning signals from this burgeoning market and potentially provide a powerful edge to a new competitor.

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