News Column

Exclusive Survey Reveals Diversity Trends

January/February 2003, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

The battle for corporate diversity, according to Victor Arias, is fought on three fronts: product (advertising), procurement, and people. "It's very easy to put metrics on product and procurement, but the part that's missing is the people," laments Mr. Arias, leader of Global Diversity Practice at the executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

Data from a new survey can help fill in that blank. The first-ever Hispanic Business® Corporate Diversity survey focuses on public corporations among the top 60 advertisers in the Hispanic market (see "Media Markets Report," December 2002). These companies come pre-qualified in the product category, having spent more than $1.1 billion collectively in advertising to U.S. Hispanics last year.

The survey examines how these market leaders are working internally to create diverse organizations. Questions cover each company's definition of diversity, minority supplier programs, recruitment and promotion efforts, and community outreach, as well as statistical information on the company's diversity budget and the make-up of its workforce. Results from the survey show progress in Hispanic hiring and promotion, in step with growth of the Hispanic market and diversity markets generally.

Demographic shifts provide the business motivation for today's diversity efforts. In the 1992–2002 decade, Hispanic purchasing power grew 258 percent in unadjusted real dollars, according to HispanTelligence®. During the same 10-year span, total spending to reach the Hispanic market grew at about the same pace – 236 percent.

The Hispanic workforce, meanwhile, increased 43 percent to reach 16.4 million people. Hispanics in "managerial and professional specialty occupations" as designated by the Census jumped 74 percent and now number an estimated 4 million. Hispanics presently account for 11.4 percent of the U.S. labor force and 9.4 percent of the managerial-professional class, according to Census data.

Against that background, several of the survey respondents beat the workforce parity benchmark. Domino's reports that 18 percent of its labor force is Hispanic, followed by SBC (13 percent) and Avon (11.5 percent). Others that approach parity include General Mills at 10.6 percent, PepsiCo at 10.3 percent, and Southwest Airlines at 10 percent (see table, "Leaders in Payroll Diversity").

Responses to the Hispanic Business Corporate Diversity survey indicate that companies perceive a clear relationship between the need for diversity and market realities. "We view [diversity] as business critical, since demographics are changing," states PepsiCo. "A diverse workforce ensures diverse minds, experiences, cultures, and perspectives, enabling us to help our customers make progress," confirms Verizon. On the organizational side, SBC (a survey respondent though not on the Top 60 Advertisers list) observes: "Our diversity efforts are integrated into our business operations, and not funded separately as a corporate overlay."


Once a company attracts a diverse workforce, the real job begins: keeping it and benefiting from it.

"From the human resources perspective, we spend most of our time in a work environment, so we want people to connect with each other, with the organization, and with the community," says Shirley Harrison, vice-president of diversity management at the Philip Morris Cos. Ms. Harrison oversees diversity management at Philip Morris headquarters in New York and its domestic operating companies, such as Kraft Foods, Miller Brewing, and Philip Morris USA.

To help accomplish those connections, Philip Morris – with more than 180,000 employees – supports two types of employee groups. One type, begun in the 1980s in the company's food businesses, is employee-led but management-supported. Some of these groups continue for years, attracting hundreds of volunteer members. Groups of the other type are composed of eight to ten employees appointed by management to tackle specific issues.

"Our affinity groups, as they're called elsewhere, are grassroots efforts," Ms. Harrison says. "Each has an executive liaison to the corporate management councils. This is usually a top management person who provides insight into how the group's activities fit into the bigger picture of the company.

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