Because the Hispanic population is growing so rapidly in the US, opportunities are available for graduates in many fields. Employers are recognizing the need to hire individuals who understand the language and culture of this growing segment of the population, and there are opportunities in many professions.
Unfortunately, individuals of Hispanic heritage may still have to overcome negative stereotypes during their job search, but it’s important to remember that being bicultural is a definite competitive advantage. Students should highlight the unique benefits their background can provide to an employer, including international experience, language skills, and cultural insight.
What Employers are Doing
To make the most of their minority recruiting efforts, the most successful employers use a variety of methods and diligently work to promote these initiatives on campus.
Many employers are reaching out to Hispanic students by sponsoring career fairs and other events on campus, attending recruiting events, and even offering scholarships to Hispanic students. Companies are also connecting with students through professional societies such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting.
Where to Look for your First Job
Students should be searching the Internet job boards, both the big ones as well as niche boards that match either their career functions, locations, or diversity. LatPro, for example, is a niche diversity job board for Hispanic and bilingual professionals.
Industries where Hispanics are Under-Represented
Despite promising advances in many areas, Hispanics continue to be underrepresented in a variety of professions. The fields we hear employers mentioning most include science, information technology, engineering, and healthcare (especially nurses and physicians with Spanish language skills).
The reasons are varied and complex, but multicultural students are simply not entering these fields in great enough numbers. We can encourage students to pursue these fields by increasing scholarships to ease the financial burden of advanced education, as well as promoting mentorship opportunities to expose young Latinos and Latinas to these career options early on.
What Employers are Looking For
Many employers want to see that students are involved in organizations related to their profession, especially those focused on supporting Hispanic professionals within a specific field. For example, accounting students and graduates should consider joining the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA).
Other organizations include SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers), NAHN (National Association of Hispanic Nurses), NSHP (National Society for Hispanic Professionals), MAES (Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists) and many others. These organizations are an excellent source for networking opportunities and job leads.
Another source of networking opportunities would be Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Every resource should be used, especially for newly graduating students in search of their first jobs.
By using multiple strategies, employers can better inform Hispanic students about their corporate diversity initiatives and how their organization values a diverse workforce. Efforts should include employee referral programs, affinity organizations within the company, sponsorship of scholarships for Hispanic students, advertising on diversity job boards like LatPro.com, and the support of Hispanic Professional organizations within their field.
Recruiting Hispanics requires the employer to understand the benefit that a diverse workforce brings to the business bottom line. Minority candidates want to know that they are being recruited for their skills and the value they will bring to an organization, versus being a number in a diversity hiring effort.