Latinos account for nearly half of all consumer spending growth and are the fastest-growing population group in the country, yet a new report finds that Hispanics are largely missing in action in the corridors of power in corporate America.
The 2015 Corporate Inclusion Report from the Washington-based Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) finds that just over 7 percent of Latinos held board seats - higher than average in Fortune 500 companies but still considered low, and of those, about two percent were held by Latinas. Overall, four percent of all executive positions were held by Hispanics, with Latina executives comprising one percent, which HACR calls a "worrisome" lack of movement in the executive ranks.
"The data reveals that few companies are tapping into top Latino talent to fill open board positions, which is a trend we would like to see change," the report states.
HACR reached out to 128 companies, including AT&T, Allstate, McDonalds, MetLife, State Farm and Target. HACR finds that nearly 25 percent of companies improved their numbers from last year, though the overall numbers are low.
"Forward-thinking companies such as these recognize that diversity and inclusion is not only the right thing to do, it's also the smart thing to do," said Lisette García, Senior Director of the HACR Research Institute, which analyzes and researches diversity and other Latino-related issues in corporate America, and conducted the research for this annual report.
"As the strength of the Hispanic consumer continues to grow, corporate America will soon learn that the Hispanic population is the key to maintaining a competitive advantage and essential for preserving market position," said García.
Hispanic employees in corporate America -- 15 percent among participating companies in the HACR report - is more on par with the Latino population overall in the United States (17 percent according to the 2012 Census). Most Latino workers in corporations held non-exempt, non-senior level positions.
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In addition to employment and board membership, HACR looked at other areas, including corporate philanthropy and procurement. It found that while overall charitable contributions totaled some $85 million, contributions to Hispanic organizations and community groups were just over $6 million.
The report also found that while procurement spending with Hispanic suppliers increased to $13 billion in 2015 compared to $8 billion last year, those dollars earmarked to Latino-owned companies represent just two percent of all procurement dollars, which mirrors a report HACR released during the summer.
"While we've seen some progress in the average procurement spend of Fortune 100 companies with Hispanic-owned businesses, it still falls very short of what we think these businesses can handle and what Corporate America can do," HACR President and CEO Cid Wilson said at the time. "We want Fortune 100 and 500 companies to strengthen their partnerships with Hispanic entrepreneurs to ensure that increased procurement opportunities are available to this growing sector of the entrepreneurial market."