Your Next Competitive Edge

Many CEO’s continue to ignore the warning signals coming from the untethered, unaddressed, and virtually untouched emerging Hispanic markets exploding within their own backyard, the US of A.  What should these leaders do?

Alarming statistics on the rapidly growing Hispanic population appear to be falling on deaf ears. Statements such as “25% of the US population will be of Hispanic descent by 2050” – (census.gov) or “Hispanic purchasing power will reach $2 trillion by 2015” – (hispanicbusiness.com) or “the average age of 60% of Hispanics in the US today is 15 years- old” – (pewhispanic.org) have dominated the headlines for the past year.     Why then have statements of this significance practically become a ‘non-issue’ among 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 giving the impression to their CEO’s that the urgency to hire Hispanics has been somewhat 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’ leaders 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 over the long term? 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 to gain favor among Hispanic consumers may vary from company to company. Certainly recruiting more Hispanic employees is a good start. Another suggestion may be to develop educational forums on Hispanic cultural differences for existing employees. Having both existing employees and new Hispanic hires on the same page will foster a more effective exchange of ideas. Despite these and many other efforts to include Hispanics in the workplace, the importance of placing Hispanic professionals at key decision- making levels should remain a top priority. Without the ability for Hispanics leaders to contribute in a meaningful manner, upper management may fail to recognize the warning signals from this burgeoning market and potentially provide a powerful edge to a a more receptive competitor.

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