The recent HACR Empow(h)er™: Understanding Workplace Barriers for Latinas report examines some of the day-to-day challenges Latinas face in progressing throughout the professional pipeline, especially as they try to gain access to leadership positions and promotional opportunities in Corporate America. The HACR Empow(h)er™ report is a culmination of research conducted over a five-month period with over 500 professionals throughout Corporate America.
Opportunities, Worth, & Visibility at Work
One area HACR focused on in the report was perceptions regarding opportunities, visibility, and worth within the workplace. We wanted to know how Latinas perceived their ability to progress through the professional pipeline, whether they felt seen by their peers, and how valued they felt by their peers. For many Americans, their career is a major component of their identity. Work is how people provide for themselves and their families and how they spend most of their day. It is therefore especially important to many Americans that they feel hopeful about their career prospects and feel valued by their peers.
Unfortunately, less than half of the 580 survey participants felt that their career prospects were very or extremely promising, while more than 10 percent felt their career prospects were not at all promising. Take a moment to imagine showing up for work every day at a place where you feel your career prospects are limited. Or perhaps you don’t have to imagine such a scenario because you live it every day. Opportunities for progression and growth are some of the strongest motivators for employees. Without them, they are far more likely to leave and opt for opportunities in which they feel like their prospects for career growth are greater. This can contribute to companies losing valuable talent.
Feeling valued is another key motivator for employees and to employee retention. Being appreciated for the work that you do and what you bring to an organization is a major productivity booster. It can also be a needed catalyst for receiving promotions or new opportunities. Slightly more than half of our sample indicated that they felt very or extremely valued within their corporation, with 67 percent feeling that their opinion was very or extremely valued by their manager. Although sizable proportions of our participants felt their opinions were valued by their managers and their individual team members, we also learned that they often felt as if they didn’t have access to the gatekeepers of promotion. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between who is recognizing your accomplishments and who is making those promotional decisions. That is, Latinas are not visible to those with decision making power in their respective organizations.
What Latinas Are Saying
When asked their thoughts on what might be happening, respondents were clear in what they were describing. Latinas often expressed that they fell outside of the boundaries of the groups making promotional decisions. As a result, they are less likely to be seen or recognized when promotions are considered and are therefore less likely to move up through the ranks of Corporate America. Despite this acknowledgment of something larger happening around them, these women offered up suggestions for how companies can improve:
One theme seemed key to what our study participants were saying: getting to know Latinas by creating spaces that actively include them is critical to moving beyond the biases and barriers that impede their progress through the professional pipeline. To the degree that companies actively work to create spaces where Latinas have access to key decision makers, the possibilities are limitless.
Download a copy of the Empow(h)er™: Understanding Workplace Barriers for Latinas report here.