News Column

Job Search Tips for Hispanics

Sept. 14, 2012

Rebecca Villaneda --

Jorge Perez, ManpowerGroup's senior vice president of North America
Jorge Perez, ManpowerGroup's senior vice president of North America

In light of the most recent Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, Jorge Perez, ManpowerGroup's senior vice president of North America, gave insight into how U.S. Hispanics fair in particular industry sectors.

Employers intend to continue hiring at a steady pace and the Net Employment Outlook for the fourth quarter of 2012 is up 11 percent, unchanged from the third quarter and slightly elevated from 8 percent during the same period last year, according to the survey.

The number of employers who plan to increase staff level is 3 percent higher than a year ago.

Hiring intentions continue to climb with employers in 49 out of 50 states, and employers in 99 out of 100 of the largest metropolitan statistical areas report positive hiring intentions to close out the year, the survey found.

The industries that will have the best hiring outlooks in the next quarter are retail trade and hospitality, with 16 percent and 15 percent increases, respectively.

On the downside, nondurable goods manufacturing, transportation and utilities, and government reported only a 4 percent hiring outlook, while the construction sector reports a 1 percent outlook.

"The Latino population has a big component of people working in hospitality and retail trade," Perez said. "So in those two areas we will see a positive for the in the next quarters."

U.S. Hispanics at Executive Levels

While the number of U.S. Hispanics at executive levels remains low considering their percentage of the population, Perez said the willingness to promote is there. In July 2012, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's found that by the end of fiscal year 2011, total permanent federal employment for Hispanics had increased from 153,740 in FY 2010 to 157,693. This represents an increase in number of 3,953, with the percentage of the federal workforce represented by Hispanics increasing slightly from 8.0 to 8.1 percent. The proportion of new hires into the senior executive service who were Hispanic increased from 2.7 percent in FY 2010 to 5.4 percent in FY 2011.

U.S. OPM Director John Berry established a Hispanic Council on federal employment in 2011 to help remove barriers to recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of Hispanic executives in the federal workforce, according to Perez. Based on the council's recommendations, OPM created a "messaging plan" to help raise awareness in the Hispanic community about federal employment opportunities, such as the Pathways Programs and programs for veterans.

"Enterprises, especially in the service industry, there is a very clear understanding that they need to go after a diverse talent pool, including Hispanics," Perez said, adding that the real question is whether Hispanics have the skills and talent needed for those jobs.

"The companies are willing to hire more diverse talent because it is good for them, because it brings better business opportunities," he continued. "They better understand the market and all of the things that come."

The challenge is to create awareness around Hispanic candidates, showcase their talents and make them visible to potential companies.

Hispanic Talent Pool

Perez said the health-service industry is a sector where Hispanics can find opportunity. With an 8 percent hiring intention, according to Manpower, Hispanics can utilize their bilingual skills to land jobs where there are shortages in staffing, such as nursing.

"The U.S. has been bringing nurses from India, Korea and the Philippines. Why can't we build the talent within, because we already have people that can do this," Perez said. "Being bilingual will be critical and relevant just because of the sheer composition of the demographics of the country.

"We need to make sure that we communicate well, so the community understands the value and they can see the benefit," he continued.

One solution is for Hispanic organizations to make more connections with private and public companies that are hiring.

"It's mind-boggling to me to think that many organizations don't come forward and say, 'Here we are, and I want to show you what we have in terms of talent,'" he said. "I see that more often in African-American groups coming to me directly and saying, 'Hey we want to talk.'"

But individual job seekers also need to be more assertive when looking for jobs, he added.

"I don't know if it's just a cultural piece or aspect of us as Latinos, if we are less aggressive in terms of being outspoken and really out there," he said.

Tips for job seekers

When on the job hunt, self-awareness is key. A job seeker should walk into an interview mindful of what skills they can offer to the company, Perez said.

In addition, understand what the company stands for and what its challenges, and be ready for a dialogue.

"Nobody that goes to an interview will always have the perfect profile," Perez said. "But if you demonstrate in the interview process that you are willing to learn and understand it better, that's a better fit."

Source: © 2012. All rights reserved.

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