Diversity Plunge -->
Fifty million Hispanics account for 16 percent of America's population. The total minority population, of which Hispanics are the majority, comes to 36.3 percent. Such demographics, revealed by data from the 2010 census, show the shifting nature of the consumer marketplace, the national workforce and the communities in which people live. They also point out the increasingly diverse nation the United States is becoming.
For America's corporations, diversity has become the underpinnings of mission statements, internal policies, business strategies and community outreach. And with good reason. With the United States' demographic becoming more ethnically and racially diverse, and with more women entering the workforce, those corporations that embrace diversity gain a stronger foothold in the marketplace.
Consider, the purchasing power of Hispanics alone was put at $1 trillion in 2010 and estimated by HispanTelligence, the research arm of HispanicBusiness Inc., to increase to $1.3 trillion by 2015. With purchasing power like this floating around, corporate buy-in to the concept of diversity at all levels of business seems a prudent step to take.
As Ernie Gutierrez, president and CEO of the HispanicBusiness 500 company Allied Industries Inc., said concerning his recent election as vice chairman of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, diversity is a give-and-take proposition. "The time has come for Hispanic businesses to take full advantage of opportunities now available. In addition, it is time that both corporate America and government take the voice of the Hispanic community more seriously."
Each September since 2005, HispanicBusiness has focused on singling out the efforts of the best companies and the best postgraduate schools in business, engineering, law and medicine on diversity as it relates to Hispanics -- in short, taking a snapshot of the state of diversity in the U.S.
The methodology for determining which businesses and schools make the lists is complicated. Businesses are ranked by 32 variables that determine how each approaches the issue of diversity, including such criteria as board membership, leadership ranks, recruitment and retention, marketing and community outreach, and philanthropy. Postgraduate schools are ranked on five variables, including the number of Hispanic students enrolled, number of Hispanics who earned degrees and percent of faculty who are Hispanic.
This Year's Leaders
AT&T tops the 2011 Best Companies for diversity directory. It has made the top 10 every year since 2007. Except for 2009 when it dropped to No. 9, AT&T has ranked No. 1 twice (this year and 2008) and No. 2 twice (2010 and 2007). Two other firms have been on the Best Companies for diversity directory for the past five years -- Southern California Edison (SCE), which has place in the top five each year, ranking No. 1 twice, in 2009 and 2007; and Bank of America, which reached No. 3 in 2009 but otherwise remained in the bottom half of the top 10. Three companies -- Comerica Bank, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Marriott International Inc. -- have been on the list four of the last five years.
AT&T's policy on diversity is to "lead from the top and embed diversity and inclusion," Debbie Storey, senior vice president of talent development and chief diversity officer told HispanicBusiness magazine.
Verizon Communications, No. 2 on the Best Companies directory, believes diversity and inclusion make good business sense, but it prefers to embrace diversity not merely as a strategy for competitive advantage, but because it is the right thing to do.
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