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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Latino professionals have the widest gap between representation in the labor force and executive positions — bigger than that of any other minority group.

Why it matters: Latinos will make up a quarter of the U.S. population by 2050, and scores of U.S. firms profit off of Latino consumers, but this group is absent from the business world's highest and most impactful decision-making positions.

By the numbers:

  • Latinos account for nearly 18% of the U.S. labor force and own 1 in 7 small businesses.
  • But they occupy just 4% of executive roles and less than 3% of Fortune 1000 company board seats.

"This is completely abysmal," says Sindy Benavides, CEO of the League of United Latin American Citizens. "Latinos make up 1 in 5 Americans, and we’re invisible at the biggest corporations."

The inequities are starkest in some of the country's biggest cities, according to research from the Center for Employment Equity at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

  • In New York, Latinos make up 22.6% of the workforce and hold just 4.5% of the executive positions. In San Jose, they are 26.8% of the workforce and hold 3.8% of the roles.
  • Miami, a majority Latino city, has the best representation statistics, with Latinos accounting for 44.1% of the labor force and 24.6% of the top jobs, but even there the gap is wide.

What to watch: "It’s pretty clear that firms respond to public pressure," says Don Tomaskovic-Devey, director of UMass' Center for Employment Equity. Over the summer, at least 170 companies committed to increasing Black representation in response to racial justice protests.

  • Companies haven't faced that same pressure to increase Latino representation, he says.

"One of the reasons it goes unnoticed is because we're also silent on it," says Daniel Villao, chairman of the Association of Latino Professionals for America's board of directors.

  • But the number of organizations speaking out about the lack of representation is growing, and public pressure could quickly build as Latinos make up a larger and larger share of U.S. consumers.
  • "For a business to not take into account that their client base needs to see people that look like them is a mistake," Villao says. "It’s gonna be felt in your wallet."

The bottom line: As we've reported, employees and customers alike are becoming increasingly aware of companies' values, and they're making decisions about where to work and where to buy based on whether companies stick to those values.

  • Increasing Latino representation so that C-suites and board rooms look like the rest of America is a clear way for firms to help their communities and their profit margins.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

A year of monumental change in the workplace

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In less than a year, the pandemic shot us more than a decade ahead in the workplace transformation.

The big picture: The pandemic's acceleration of telecommuting has changed much more than the way we attend meetings. We'll see lasting impacts on company culture, the job market, demographics and cities.

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.