- The lack of an inclusive culture and sponsorship for Latina executives is holding them back from moving up the talent pipeline, according to the Network of Executive Women (NEW). The organization released a report May 18, along with Latinarrific, a Hispanic marketing platform, that takes a look at cultural norms for Latina leaders that differs from corporate America and how companies can create a more inclusive culture while better identifying talented Latinas for promotion.
- The Latinas in Corporate America report is based on a focus group consisting of 36 women — 25 mid-level Latina executives of which the majority (42%) were of Mexican descent, age 45 and older, not born in the U.S., and bilingual; and 11 senior executives of which the majority (55%) were of Puerto Rican descent, age 45 and older, not born in continental the U.S., and bilingual. The focus group questions asked how women of color experience the workplace within their social identity and what companies can do to improve the hiring, retention, and promotion of women of color.
- The study points out cultural aspects that Latina executives said are viewed as negative in corporate America. For example, expressiveness in communication is perceived as the stereotype of "Latina-ness," consisting of having a "Latin temper," being dramatic or overly sensitive, the participants said. Prioritizing spending time with family is important to Latinas and a cultural norm; however, it's "something corporate America says it values, but does not accommodate well," the report stated. NEW suggested companies develop true cultural competence and inclusive leadership; formal sponsorship programs; and hold leaders accountable for diversity and inclusion by putting accountability measures into place that are tied to performance reviews and compensation.
Research has shown that effective sponsorship results in career advancement and higher wages for women of color. However, the wage increase is greater when a white male is the sponsor rather than a woman advocate.
Payscale's July 2019 report, Sponsors: Valuable Allies that Not Everyone Has, found that a Latina employee with a Latina sponsor earned 15.5% less than those with a white sponsor. White males routinely sponsor mostly fellow white males for advancement opportunities and higher pay, according to PayScale.
"As companies are hiring Latinas, they need to be cognizant of the pay gap and should ensure that Latinas are receiving equitable offers," the NEW report stated. The organization also advised companies to institute formal sponsorship programs that educate leaders on how to be effective sponsors, highlighting the successes of sponsored Latinas throughout the company.
"Latinas need to be able to look up and see people who look like them in the C-suite and on the board of directors," the report said.
To place an emphasis on diversity in the board of directors, the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA) launched The Latino Board Tracker Feb. 20 to track the number of Latino board directors at Fortune 1000 companies. "LCDA is filing a gap with the Latino Board Tracker because reporting by race and ethnicity is currently not required of corporate boards," Esther Aguilera, CEO of LCDA said in a statement. "This tool is a baseline; it is our hope that boards and directors will surface with additional information about current board composition that will enable the most accurate data available."