Today the Hispanic and Latine (a gender neutral word for Latino) communities make up 18.9% of the total population in the US. Yet despite being the nation’s second-largest racial and ethnic group, Hispanic and Latine early talent have been underrepresented in higher education due to systemic social and economic barriers.
Hispanic vs. Latino vs. Latinx vs. Latine: What’s the difference? For greater context, see Handshake’s 70 inclusive language principles.
Many Hispanic and Latine students who have enrolled in college lack access to the networks that open doors for their peers. And traditional recruiting structures aren’t surfacing more inclusive hiring practices that facilitate these students’ transition from college to career.
Enter Handshake, where access to opportunity is equal—no matter a job seeker’s background—and where you’ve come to recruit qualified, diverse early talent. To attract Latine talent and support their success at your organization, try these 3 strategies.
1. Expand your school partnerships
This demographic is projected to account for 1 of every 5 people in the labor force by 2030. And it’s encouraging that today, Hispanic enrollment in higher education is surpassing the growth rate of any other racial-ethnic group.
Attract more Latine applicants by partnering with a wider number of schools—not just the same schools you’ve always targeted.
Community colleges—which 40% of Latine students attend—serve as a strong entry point for many Latine students, partially because they’re more affordable, more inclusive, and allow for the flexibility often required of part-time work and family life.
An HSI is a school with an enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent students that is at least 25% Hispanic (for example, California Polytechnic State University-Pomona). Sixty-seven percent of all Latine undergraduates attended an HSI in the academic year 2019-2020.
Looking for candidates from select schools is a common hiring practice. But expanding your school partnerships will help you build the strongest, most diverse candidate pipeline that’s inclusive of Latine early talent.
2. Broaden your search criteria
Have you relied on GPA requirements to vet potential candidates? If so, you could be excluding top Latine talent. Instead, take a skills-based hiring approach and filter for skills and aptitudes, not credentials. For example, say you’re hiring for tech roles: filter for candidates who have experience in agile project management or have used Java.
Use Handshake to filter for students who participate in Latine student organizations like:
- Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement
- Association of Latino Professionals
- Society of Hispanic Engineers
“As a first-generation Latinx student, my struggles didn’t stop after applying to college. I was never in a position where I could ask my parents nor a direct source about how to navigate the college process nor the job process.Alejandra A., senior at Wake Forest University
I am learning as I go and often feel behind compared to others. As someone who is going to school full-time while working part-time, it’s hard to juggle everything especially this being my senior year.
What I ask employers to do is take a chance on someone, people are way more than supplemental materials that they fill out during an application process—I can’t fit everything I do into a one-page resume but I do assure you if you talk to me, I will leave you more than impressed.”
Digital upskilling comes naturally to Gen Zers who are used to learning online (think, for example, YouTube tutorials). Offer upskilling for any job-specific skills that your Latine early talent candidates or employees may not already have.
3. Provide support systems
Most Latine workers in the US don’t feel that they can bring their whole selves to the office. Bain & Company has found that “only 35% of young adult workers, most of whom were Black or Latinx, said their employer provides information about career advancement and promotion opportunities.” Attract Latine early talent starting at the internship and entry level, expose them to various pathways their careers can take, and develop them for long-term growth at your company.
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One way to retain and cultivate Latine early talent is with structured mentorship programs. It is especially impactful for early talent from underrepresented groups to build relationships with people who can sponsor them and advocate for their career progression.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are another important avenue for underrepresented groups to find belonging and can be extra welcoming for new hires. Realize and recognize the diversity of Hispanic and Latine backgrounds, traditions, and perspectives. Create inclusive, safe spaces that celebrate and support the Latine community and their allies.
How does our country’s diversity mirror the makeup of your talent pool, your workforce, and your customers/constituents? Ensuring an equitable, inclusive workplace starts with your recruiting strategy.