News Column

Corner Office

Sept. 9, 2011

Jesus Chavarria, Editor and Publisher

Challenging the prevailing national reality of declining equal opportunity with a powerful tide of rising expectations, the nation's emerging diversity markets remain vibrant and hopeful. Those who attended HACR's celebration of its 25th anniversary in early May of this year in Washington, D.C., or ALPFA's annual national gathering in August in Anaheim, Calif., walked away with a reassuring set of impressions. Chief among them: There's a lot of talent coming up the pipeline and there are a lot of serious people and institutions concentrating on keeping it that way.

Despite current market conditions, the nation's growing diversity demographic remains an exciting, comprehensive emerging market. It's unique, driven by ethnic and gender groups -- chief among them, numerically, Hispanic professionals made up of senior and mid-level managers and executives as well as younger professionals. Also, a record number of young adult Hispanics are attending college and, for the first time, outnumber young adult black students.

What this emerging market of human capital seeks above all else is that elected officials and policymakers concentrate their energies and vision on growing the economy, and especially zero in on expanding equal opportunity in job markets.

A recent report notably concluded that 63 percent of jobs will require a postsecondary degree by 2018. That puts a lot of pressure and stress on today's "best schools" markets.

Our annual "Best Schools" review indicates Hispanics have made steady advancement during the past five years at the nation's top postgraduate schools specializing in business, engineering, law and medicine. In the pursuit of postgraduate degrees during the past five years, Hispanics have averaged 13.5 percent in the number of postgraduate degrees achieved over the past five years.

Hispanics have to do better. As Richard Larsen concludes, only 19 percent of Hispanic adults have a postsecondary degree, compared to 42 percent of white adults and 26 percent of African-American adults. In California only 15.5 percent of Hispanic adults have a higher degree, compared to 50 percent for white adults. Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Illinois and Colorado post lower percentages of achievement. Florida on the other hand has the highest rates of Hispanics with higher degrees at 32 percent.

Turning to "Best Companies" we find a somewhat comparable picture of social dynamics. There the terms seem starker. Perhaps that's because the power of the purse lies at the core of the transactional relationship existing between diversity consumers and large, for-profit corporations. Hispanic purchasing power reached the $1 trillion mark in 2010, as estimated by HispanTelligence, the research arm of Hispanic Business Inc. Perennially near or at the top of the rankings, AT&T obtained the No. 1 ranking.

General Motors enters the directory ranks of the Best Companies for Diversity, debuting at No. 38.

It also is that time of the year to update our monthly tracking of Best Companies on our Hispanic Business Diversity Stock Index (see page 42). The index tracks the progress made by companies that promote diversity.

Finally, we introduce a new section to the magazine this month, The Diversity Partnership, which at its core is the Annual State of Diversity Special Report published by HispanicBusiness magazine. The new section will report daily online and monthly in the magazine about important issues and developments reflecting the ongoing transactional dynamic existing between America's diversity communities and private and public institutions. We begin this new section with a look at Chrysler Group LLC's diversity efforts, beginning on Page 64

Source: (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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