As Hispanic Heritage Month kicks off, we are sharing information and resources to continue the conversation about this growing demographic group, from employment to culture.
Since 1968, the United States has recognized the contributions that Hispanic Americans have made to our country. The month celebrates the people and communities whose ancestors hailed from Spain, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, and pays “tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.” This month-long celebration kicks off on September 15 every year to honor the shared independence day of several countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, as well as the independence days of Mexico, Chile and Belize that occur in the following days.
Brush up on what the holiday means and keep reading for insight into the employment situation for Hispanic/Latinx American workers, as well as suggested additional media to learn more.
Hispanic Heritage Month facts:
- 18.4% of the U.S. population is considered Hispanic (by the Census definition) and is the second-fastest growing racial and ethnic group.
- In recent years, there has been a growing use of “Latinos” to describe this group, and more recently, using “Latinx” for a more gender-neutral description. You can learn more about the history and use of all three words here.
- Additional holidays worth mentioning: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day (a common misconception), and Dia de los Muertos – a Mexican holiday celebrating those who have passed on – is not the same thing as Halloween, even though the timing is close.
What is the employment landscape for Hispanic and Latinx workers?
In addition to improving diversity and inclusion on your team, it’s crucial to understand the environment and mindset of potential candidates, especially when research indicates how the vulnerability of this group is crucial to the U.S. pandemic recovery. The same report notes that Hispanics and Latinos are a disproportionately young group projected to grow from 17 to 22% of the workforce by 2030 – meaning, these workers are the future of your company.
And, unfortunately, the pandemic has hit this community hard:
- In one CDC study, those who identified as Latino (or a race other than white) represented less than a quarter of the workforce but accounted for three-quarters of workplace COVID-19 cases.
- These workers also have a harder time accessing care and are more economically vulnerable. “The five business sectors most affected by the pandemic generate almost 50% of the revenues of Hispanic- and Latino-owned businesses, and 65% of Hispanics and Latinos work in those sectors,” according to McKinsey research. The report shows that this group of workers is overrepresented in 90% of the lowest-wage jobs that are considered high contact and essential.
- While the unemployment rate is slowly declining among non-white workers, “Hispanic women have experienced a steeper decline in employment (‑21%) in the COVID-19 downturn than other women or men.”
What can companies do to help Hispanic and Latinx workers?
Hire them! If you’ve ramped up your diversity and inclusion commitments, now is a great time to expand your candidate sourcing, improve your hiring processes and turn these workers into your employees. As these folks were more likely to have lost jobs in frontline industries, pay extra attention to skills and be open to candidates who have experience in other fields.
Expand your knowledge and celebrate Hispanic and Latinx contributions and leaders
“My Beloved World” by Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic American to sit on the Supreme Court. In this memoir, she shares her story in her own words.
The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture: One of the best ways to experience a culture is through art. Check out what the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture has to offer and get to know its network of artists.
Visit the Smithsonian Latino Center to continue your education of the rich history in America and topics that continue to impact the community.
PBS – Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month: Enjoy this collection of films and documentaries featuring Hispanic stories, history and more.