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To attract, retain and engage Hispanics and Latinos, employers need to understand the common—and unique—characteristics of the various cultures that fall under the label of “Hispanic,” according to Di Ann Sanchez, SPHR, president and founder of DAS HR Consulting LLC in Hurst, Texas.
“People from 22 different countries of origin are considered to be Hispanic,” she said during a concurrent session of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2012 Talent Management Conference & Exposition held April 30-May 2. “Hispanic is a culture, not a race.”
Although Sanchez noted that the label “Hispanic” is a government term, rather than one adopted by those who fall within the demographic group, it’s a term most don’t mind and many prefer over the label “Latino,” she said, citing data released April 4, 2012, by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Often, however, individuals will identify themselves by their family’s country of origin, she said, which is why she urged employers not to “lump Hispanics into one category.”
Highlights of 2010 Census
In order to help conference attendees understand the population of potential applicants, Sanchez summarized a few facts from the 2010 U.S. Census:
“The majority of the Hispanic population is still blue collar,” she noted. “Education is our challenge,” she added, because it is difficult for large families to fund a college education and because parents with a below average English reading level sometimes have a hard time filling out financial aid applications.
What Recruiters Need to Know
The applicant pool will vary based on location, Sanchez noted, with Puerto Ricans and Cubans mostly on the East Coast and Mexicans mostly in the West. And the level of English skills and American acculturation will depend in part upon whether someone is a first, second or third generation immigrant.
Though differences exist based on country of origin, Sanchez said, there are some common characteristics recruiters and hiring managers will need to understand in order to attract and retain Hispanics:
Diversity and inclusion efforts such as mentoring programs, employee affinity groups and community involvement are likely to appeal to Hispanic applicants as well, said Sanchez.
Rebecca R. Hastings, SPHR, is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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