Latino Millennials—The New Diverse Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities for Organizations
Updated: May 14, 2021
Latino Millennials—The New Diverse Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities
Donna Maria Blancero, Edwin Mouriño-Ruiz, and Amado M. Padilla
There are a variety of trends that are enabling and forcing organizational
change. A crucial trend that has implications for a changing and growing
demographic workforce includes Millennials and in particular Latinos/
Hispanics as the world and particularly the U.S. workplace continues to
have an increased aging workforce. Yet, while Latinos are members of the
largest and also the fastest growing minority group in the United States,
they are disproportionately underrepresented in more highly compensated
professional and leadership roles across corporate America. The majority of
existing career development and acculturation literature in the United States
has focused narrowly on Anglo-oriented acculturation as a linear process.
Unfortunately, as society has evolved so has the form of prejudices and
biases. This is supported by the fact that well more than 50% of Hispanics
experience discrimination through a variety of means including microaggressions.
We believe that developing and maintaining an overlapping
and compatible bicultural identity might not be enough and that we need
to rethink what acculturation and biculturalism means for millennials and
broaden our thinking to include cosmopolitanism as more encompassing of
the millennials and their place in the world. We believe this article begins
Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 40(1)
State of the Workforce
There are a variety of trends that are enabling and forcing organizational
change that include the technological evolution, educational challenges, an
aging workforce, a growing Millennial population, and an increasingly
diverse (particularly Latino) workforce. These trends create both challenges
and opportunities for organizations and their leaders (Mouriño, 2017). A crucial
trend and the focus of this article is the changing and growing demographic
workforce that includes Millennials and, in particular, Latinos as the
United States and its workplaces continue to have an increasingly aging
workforce. Strack, Baier, Marchingo, and Sharda (2014) warned of a pending
crisis by 2030 where there will be insufficient young workers to replace the
aging workforce that is nearing retirement age. This will only make it that
much more important to attract and retain an engaged workforce as competition
increases for younger skilled workers.
While the 21st century is experiencing an aging workforce and will continue
to do so into the foreseeable future, there is an increase in millennials
who are also moving into the workplace. In fact, it is expected that by 2020,
50% of the workforce will consist of Millennials (Mathis, Jackson, Valentine,
& Meglich, 2014). Millennials will overtake the number of baby boomers in
the workplace and the motivations that drive these new workers are different
from their predecessors. These new workers are motivated primarily by collaboration,
recognition, innovation, and relationships (Tapscott, 2008).
Millennials have been labeled impatient, technologically savvy, selfabsorbed,
and just plain spoiled. Clearly, this is not fully descriptive of millennials,
they are also known to be resourceful and to have much concern for
social issues such as sustainability (Hershatter & Epstein, 2010). The changing
diversity of generations in the workplace will provide both opportunities
and challenges in leader-employee relationships.
Today’s workplace consists of workers of all ages, not just Millennials
searching for meaning and purpose in life, and yet the workplace seems to be
the last place where workers are finding a meaningful purpose. In the 21st
century, worker’s expectations are changing; unfortunately most companies
have not evolved to keep pace or adapting fast enough to meet these changing
worker expectations (Mackey & Sisodia, 2014). Blancero et al. 5
The Growing Hispanic/Latino Millennial Workforce
While expectations of the workplace are changing, there is a generational
change that is taking place with the Baby Boomers entering retirement at
increasingly fast rates (Coulombe & Gil, 2016). All of this is occurring while
the Millennial workforce is becoming the largest portion of the labor force,
and among the Millennials, the increasing Latino demographic is the largest
portion of this trend.
There are presently 53 million Latinos in the United States. This makes the
United States a country with the second largest Latino population in the world
and the second largest Spanish-speaking country with an average age of 27 years
compared with 40 years for the U.S. White non-Hispanic population (Flores,
2017). This is further reinforced by the fact that Latinos will make up 74% of
labor force growth by 2020 (Erickson, 2014a), and as of 2017, Latinos became
the largest entrants into the workforce, which makes this group both an important
part of the present workforce and customer base for organizations in the United
States. In short, Latinos are expected to keep America both young and growing.
In addition, Latinos will make up 29% of the growth in real income, more likely
to participate in the workforce, and expected to add more than US$1.3 trillion in
buying power (Eisenach, 2016).
As stated, the Hispanic population is the largest ethnic group in the United
States and because of its growth trajectory over the next several decades it
will continuously change the social demographic landscape of the United
States (Cohn & Caumont, 2016). Yet, while Latinos are part of the largest and
also one of the fastest growing minority groups in the United States, they
continue to be disproportionately underrepresented in more professional and
leadership roles across corporate America (Guadalupe, 2015). Figure 1 shows
that 39% of White non-Hispanic individuals are listed as management and/or
professionals compared with only 21% of Hispanics.
Furthermore, 32% of Hispanics are employed in the lower occupational
categories of construction, maintainence, and transportation. So, inspite of
their increasing educational attainment, Latinos as a group still lag behind
non-Hispanic Whites and Asians in climbing the occupational ladder. As we
move forward in time, it will be increasingly important for corporate America
to find a way to incorporate Latinos in higher level occupational categories
and in positions of leadership.
Enculturation and/or Acculturation
While the United States continues to evolve demographically, what has been
traditionally accepted and researched is how immigrants and children of
immigrants acculturate into the mainstream and into its social structure
including institutions of higher education and corporate America. The process
of acculturation is often differentiated from that of enculturation in
research with Latinos. Specifically, acculturation is viewed as the adoption of
and adaption to new cultural patterns that occur when different cultural, ethnic,
or racial groups come into contact with each other, while enculturation is
centered on the maintenance of one’s own culture as a result of this crosscultural
contact or independent of it (Quintana & Scull, 2009).
Acculturation occurs when immigrants migrate into the new culture of the United States
and adopt the values, beliefs, and practices of the dominant (American) culture.
At the same time, immigrants often decide to maintain aspects of their
own ethnic identity, home language, and cultural practices (Hernandez,
Cohen, & Garcia, 2011; Siatkowski, 2007) and to transmit these to their children.
Thus, many Latinos develop biculturally with commitment and knowledge
of American culture and the culture of their ethnic heritage. Biculturalism
is viewed as an asset in many work-related contexts because the Latino can
easily accommodate a workplace situation in English and with American normative
behaviors and also work with less acculturated ethnic heritage individuals
in Spanish and in socially and culturally appropriate ways than might
be distinct from American behavioral styles.
American corporations have typically had an Anglo-capitalistic cultural
makeup that includes a mind-set of controlling one’s destiny, speaking and
bragging about one’s strengths, successes, and a mentality of “look what I
bring to the organization.” In contrast to this individualistic American style
which may not be alien to bicultural Latinos, these same biculturals might
prefer to present themselves through a Latino lens that includes humility, a
focus on family, respect for elders, and faith in God (Rodriguez, 2007; Ruiz,
2005). As Latinos occupy more senior management positions in corporate
America and in institutions of higher educations, it will be interesting to see
how this moral compass, religious preferences, and cultural perspective will
affect the American corporate workplace and how organizations recruit and
diversy their workforce and offer management and leadership development
both from an employee and customer point of view.
As suggested elsewhere (Cruz & Blancero, 2016; Padilla & Perez, 2003),
much of the work on acculturation has focused on acculturation as a linear
process which broadly means a one-sided movement along a continuum from
an ethnic/cultural heritage enculturation to a greater alignment with American
values and behaviors. The challenge will be to see how Latino Millennials
adapt to the workplace as they strive toward, and obtain, successful careers
given Latino values and the impact they have in bringing the corporate world
more in line with their heritage culture.
Some of this realignment is seen in 8 Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 40(1)
business models adopted by multinational corporations. Remarkably, there
has been no known theory or empirical research that has considered how
cultural factors associated with the enculturation-acculturation process
affects the objective and subjective career success of Latinos working in professional/
management positions in the United States.
We maintain that the enculturation-acculturation experience is unique for
Latinos (Cruz & Blancero, 2016) and may result in challenges for them in the
workplace. In particular, experiences and challenges associated with being
Latino, such as perceived discrimination, linguistic differences, cultural and
social isolation, as well as bicultural stress may result in increased mental
health concerns for Latinos that will be important to identify and offer supportive
services if required (Cervantes, Fisher, Padilla, & Napper, 2015).
Bicultural and/or Cosmopolitanism
Embracing a bicultural identity may well be a key factor for Latino success in the
workplace and in institutions of power in America. Of importance is that one of
the key factors of successful acculturation is the ability to function in a manner
that is congruent with the values, beliefs, customs, behaviors, and language of
both the ethnic and host culture (LaFromboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993; Padilla
& Perez, 2003). However, as compared with those who are English-language
dominant, bilingual fluency in both Spanish and English has been linked to
higher occupational prestige for Latina workers (Lee & Hatteberg, 2015) as well
as enhanced cognitive performance and executive functioning in bilingual speakers,
even with nonverbal tasks (Bialystok, 2011). There is mounting evidence that
bilingual individuals enjoy significantly higher levels of life satisfaction and
resilience than monolinguals who speak only Spanish or English (Marsiglia,
Booth, Baldwin, & Ayers, 2013).
In the United States alone, Millennials are about 90 million strong, better
educated than their parents and grandparents, typically more socially liberal
in their attitudes on a wide range of topics, including cultural diversity, same
sex marriage, interracial marriage, marijuana legalization, economic inequality
and the poor, social justice concerns, gender equality, and environmental
issues including minimizing one’s carbon foot print. In many respects, millennials
have been the beneficiaries of the multicultural education fostered by
earlier advocates for a multicultural society beginning with educational
reforms that called for greater inclusion of diverse cultures and histories in
the school curriculum.
In ways unbeknown to many, the millennial generation has internalized
the goal of thinking critically about the value of a democratic multicultural
society and practices many of the principles of multiculturalism that their
parents still find difficult. Millennials move across social and cultural borders
(Blancero et al.) with far greater ease than generations before them. In addition, because of
technology and their ability to literally speed across the globe in seconds in
search of information, they have a totally different perspective of what it
means to be a member of a global society.
Millennials are also America’s most racially diverse generation ever.
Nearly half (43%) are non-White and within another 25 years, the full U.S.
population will be majority non-White (Pew Research Center, 2014).
Members of this generation too are more likely than others before them to
hold a position that all ethnic/racial heritages should be respected, counted,
and acknowledged (Espinoza, 2012). While this is occurring, today’s millennials
identifying strongly with their ethnic heritage are also more oriented
toward biculturalism and finding ways to present themselves as an ethnic
person through their life style choices while also showing that they are
There are also interesting studies (Morales & Hanson, 2005)
showing how millennials use their bicultural/bilingual skills to translate for
their parents and the process by which they transition their elders into the
American mainstream. Once again, the combination of millennial values and
Latino values seem to be a winning combination.
This is accompanied by an ever-increasing feeling of cosmopolitanism
that is becoming commonplace for a large majority of ethnic heritage millennials.
This has come about because of communication technologies and mass
media, the ease of circulation of people from one country to another because
of low airfare cost, the movement of commodities and commercial products
on a massive international scale, and the growth of global cities. In the United
States alone, we can point to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco,
Miami, Seattle, Boston, Houston, and San Antonio as global cosmopolitan
centers. While some of these cities have long been meccas for globalization
(e.g., New York), others are relative newcomers (e.g., Miami), but collectively
these cities have changed in character because of the remarkable developments
in technologies that have brought many people from around the
world closer together. Importantly, it is harder to make the case that within
any of these global cosmopolitan cities, there is an ethno-cultural group that
can claim to be the “host” or majority group that other groups must follow.
Here, we can ask ourselves, what does this new cosmopolitanism look
like? The large majority of people of color today live in cosmopolitan global
cities. In their everyday life, they experience the sights, sounds, and surroundings
of globalization. And importantly, their ethnic/racial/cultural heritage
and identity has taken on new meaning which is just beginning to take
hold in the consciousness of many millennials. In this new world of cosmopolitanism,
the view is that every culture possesses elements that are valuable
while also pointing to a diminishing loyalty to any single culture orientation.
Thus, people are more open to adopting ideas, behaviors, and cultural
10 Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 40(1)
products such as foods from other cultures and demonstrating a greater
degree of open-mindedness and cultural empathy toward members of other
cultures (Van Oudenhoven, 2006).
Discrimination, Micro-Aggressions, and Isms
Biculturalism is complex and involves numerous cultural, linguistic, and
behavioral competencies meaning that there is no one set of characteristics
that define a bicultural person (LaFromboise et al., 1993). And while for
many, a bicultural world perspective is what they might have grown up with,
much has changed as our world has flattened in the digital age so much over
the last few decades that biculturalism as was mentioned above is being overtaken
by a new worldview—cosmopolitanism—among millennials.
Today, because of globalization, technology, and ease of racial/ethnic/cultural border
crossings, people are expressing feelings of multiple identities and belonging
while holding firm to a heritage identity especially when they experience
micro-aggressions and/or discrimination against their heritage group.
What should make this of increased importance to employers is that the
future workforce will be made up of the millennial growing workforce, and
the Latino portion makes up 44% or the largest demographic segment of this
group (Krogstad, Lopez, Lopez, Passel, & Patten, 2016) and many have
experienced discrimination. This was further highlighted in a recent study
that reported that individuals who were considered different (Latinos, African
American, and women) might have more difficulty in successfully completing
an employment interview (Burrell, 2016). This cannot be tolerated nor
accepted. Not only because institutional discrimination is illegal and just
morally wrong but also because these are the demographic groups that will
continue to grow and constitute a larger segment of the workforce including
their leadership, customer base, and overall diverse American society. What
makes discriminatory practices increasingly difficult to accept and for organizations
and its leadership to allow is the instant transparency of information
made available through the Internet.
In a relatively short period of 3 decades, we have evolved into a global
society interconnected because of incredible advancements in technology.
Today’s millennials do not know a world without the Internet and social
media. Pundits have described this generation as “digital natives” because of
their high dependence on technology and their uncanny knowledge of how to
use technologies without much instruction (Vogel, 2015). This means that if
discrimination of any sort occurs, the world has access to the culprits and can
call for a halt to these practices by enforcing an embargo on businesses, the
media, or the institution that tolerates such behavior from its employees. This
is exemplified by the recent “me-to” movement where both women and men
(Blancero et al. 11) are calling out persons in power for sexually assaulting them and a corresponding corporate response of saying that such behavior will not be tolerated
and the persons responsible are losing their jobs, positions of power on
corporate boards, or in the legislative halls of our state and federal government
(Time Person of the Year 2017).
As society has evolved so has the form of prejudices and biases. This unfortunately
is supported by the fact that more than 50% of Hispanics have experienced
discrimination (Krogstad et al., 2016). More recently, other forms of biased
behavior directed at persons of color have been variously labeled as implicit bias
or micro-aggressions (Sue et al., 2007). Micro-aggressions are defined as, “Brief
and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, and environmental indignities,
whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or
negative racial, gender, sexual-orientation, and religious slights and insults to the
target person or group” (Sue, 2010, p. 5).
These forms of aggression against people of color have always existed, but have taken on new prominence in our post– Civil Rights era because it is harder to get away with overt hate crime acts whereas micro-aggressions are subtle and often difficult to prove that a racist act
was committed, often even by the person who communicated the micro-aggression.
This could be part of the reason for a recent article that highlighted a study
where minorities “whitened” their resumes and had a better chance to get an
interview (Gerdeman, 2017). These micro-aggressions are hurtful to the targeted
person and as research has shown, it can have serious mental health consequences.
Individuals who experience perceived discrimination and/or microaggressions
because of their ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, and
religion may suffer from depression, psychological distress, and social marginality
calling into question their place in a multicultural society. While the focus of
this article is on Latinos, we acknowledge that many marginalized groups experience
Allowing bias and discrimination runs contrary to the research that highlights
the advantages of diversity in the workplace that include decision making,
problem solving, creativity, flexibility, and innovation, something needed
by all organizations if they are going to remain competitive and enable them
to reinvent themselves in the midst of constant change (Burrell, 2016). Bias
and discrimination make no sense with a growing and needed demographic.
This is probably one of the reasons that motivated Llopis (2015) to title his
article “Without Hispanics, America’s Corporations Can’t Grow and
Compete,” while emphazising the importance of this growing workforce for
the U.S. corporations. Yet, here, we are in the Trump era where “isms” are
seen as just nothing serious and begs the question if the United States is going
backward when the demographics are continuing to evolve?
From an organizational and customer perspective, Latinos spent 1.5 trillion
U.S. dollars in the retail and CPG market in 2015; moreover, this is
12 Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 40(1)
expected to increase to 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars by the end of 2017 (Statista,
2017). This purchasing power is larger that the GDP of Mexico and bigger
than all but 14 countries in the world (Meltzer, 2017). In addition, when comparing
the 53 million Latinos in the United States to the BRIC countries,
Brazil, Russia, India, and China, each of which have much larger populations,
from a GDP perspective, the U.S. Latino demographic is at US$31K
plus, while the next closest is US$11K, and from a year over year growth
perspective, the U.S. Latino demographic is at 3.2%, while the next closest is
1.4% (Cartagena, 2013). This has serious market share implications and
should be an important focus for organizations and their senior leadership as
part of their customer focus within their strategic efforts going forward.
In this new global world where cosmopolitanism is commonplace,
research points to youthful Hispanic consumers as very brand and fashion
conscious, and status image-driven in their purchases (Guo, Vasque-Parraga,
& Wang, 2006) and who enjoy shopping more that non-Hispanic youth (Shim
& Gehrt, 1996). These findings break with possible stereotypes of Hispanic
millennials as marginalized, and as Chattaraman, Rudd, and Lennon (2010)
discuss, Hispanics are bicultural consumers who internalize their dual cultural
identities and who are fashion and trend conscious as a way of locating
themselves in an American context to demonstrate that they fit into the
In the 21st century, an organization that has an engaged workforce has a tendency
for higher productivity, and experiences reduced workplace accidents, a
more stable employee base with fewer workers inclined to leave an organization,
and higher customer satisfaction (Friedman, 2015). This will be important
as the workforce of Latinos and Millennials continue to grow. Their talent will
play an important role in the future of organizations (Erickson, 2014a).
As we have stated, Latinos in the workplace often encounter discriminatory
behaviors directed at them that create unwanted and undue stress, and
make navigating the corporate culture difficult. While these are clearly difficult
and may result in pressures affecting career success, they are somewhat
balanced in the very nature of being bicultural (Cruz & Blancero, 2016).
Developing and maintaining a bicultural/cosmopolitan identity, which
includes a strong ethnic identity, being bilingual, and strong social connectedness,
can lead to success.
We suggest that because of the technological advances and globalization,
we need to rethink what acculturation and biculturalism mean for millennials.
We might need 21st-century concepts, theories, and measuring instruments to
completely understand this new world. We also need to evaluate microaggressions
and the impact these can have not only on the targets of such
aggression, but how through social media the perpetrators of micro-aggressions
can be identified and challenged on a scale never seen before. This is (Blancero et al. 13) important for marketers as well as employers of every sort including our universities charged with the responsibility of educating our future leaders.
In sum, these changes will make it increasingly more important for senior
leadership to ensure that their organizations and managers are working to
educate their leaders on the changing trends affecting society and in turn
organizations. An awareness of these changes can only help organizations
attract and retain an engaged workforce as competition increases to replace
an aging and monocultural workforce. Increasing engagement has become
particularly relevant when most workers crave meaning and purpose in life
and very few find this at work (Mackey & Sisodia, 2014).
For Latinos, work and the place they work in brings an extra perspective
of pride along with an increased expectation of having a good relationship
with their supervisor (Rodriguez, 2007). In addition, Latinos place a high
value on the employees’ stability and reputation (Erickson, 2014b). This
makes effective leadership through increased awareness of the advantages of
diversity and ensuring leaders are enabling employee engagement an imperative
in today’s organizations. We propose a model (see Figure 2) that highlights
all of the necessary components in need of consideration from a
systemic and holistic perspective.
The organization and its leadership have a choice. It can accept the societal
demographic changes (see the left side of the model) and use it as a
competitive advantage and in turn use inclusion and diversity as a positive
strategy for organizational success or disregard the changing demographics
and increase the chances of a negative organizational brand along with possible
discrimination lawsuits. Frank, Roehrig, and Pring (2014) have shown
that the latter decision can have disastrous results and have pointed to the
demise of such businesses as Kodak or Circuit City among others. While
these organizations did not disappear due to the demographic changes posited
here, these organizations did not adapt to the changing times, changing business
models, and emergence of new competitors. While adapting to new
business models are good strategies to consider, this does not exempt organizations
from previous and current practices of discrimination as both Uber
and Airbnb have experienced.
For success to prevail, organizations will need more than just new business models, they will need to rethink their organizational cultures that accept the changing demographics and which do not tolerate discriminatory practices.
Present and future organizations need to consider a paradigm shift when it
comes to acculturation and a possible evolution to the acceptance of cosmopolitism
(see right side of model). Maintaining the status quo is not in the best
interest of a business, consumers, or shareholders and will not ensure success
for the 21st-century organizations. In his recent book, Jacob Morgan (2017)
argued that the success for future organizations will entail giving employees.
This organizational model highlights all the necessary components in need of consideration from a systemic and holistic perspective to be successful with a sophisticated and cosmopolitan Latino millennial workforce that demands inclusiveness and
(Blancero et al. 15) the right office space, tools and technology, and creating an inclusive organizational culture (see top of Figure 2). The right culture for organizations in
the 21st century with a changing and social media–sophisticated demographic
that expect inclusivity as part of their work environment that differs from
previous generations will mean that organizational leaders need to gain
insight from their cosmopolitan-leaning employees and create a workplace
environment that makes employees proud to be part of the organization,
something very important for the Hispanic culture and workforce.
So What Now?
From a leader-employee relation’s perspective, it will be imperative for leaders to
better understand how to relate to the growing and diverse workforce that no
longer is compliant with discriminatory policies and practices. Senior executives
will need to ensure they emphasize the importance of organizational culture
change and model the behavior they expect from their management teams. In
addition, it is important to recognize that the growing millennial Latino population
is better educated than in the past and offers the potential for developing into
future leaders in every organization and institution in the United States.
As senior leadership considers their organizational strategies for the 21st
century, they need to ensure they have the right human capital strategy and
that this strategy takes a holistic perspective. They need to ensure that their
human capital strategy addresses human resources issues such as recruitment,
development, retention, engagement, management capabilities to manage a
growing diverse employee base, succession planning, performance management,
and rewards among others. They have to have a workplace environment
including its culture, policies, and practices that make it acceptable to
this young Latino Millennial group who expect to find acceptance and
engagement in the workplace through personal development, inclusivity, and
advancement because of their merits.
Going Forward—Questions to Consider
In addressing Latino millenials in the workplace, numerous questions arise
that organizations and universities must consider in order to ensure that the
new diverse workforce is accommodated in a way that maximizes the full
potential of Latinos. Some of the essential questions are as follows:
•• Does the organization have a human capital strategy to address the
changing trends we see in how Latino millennials envision their
world? 16 Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 40(1)
•• Is the organization creating the right environment from an employee,
organizational, leadership development perspective, and aware of
their new diverse customer base and their needs?
•• Is the organization capable of engaging and developing the growing
workforce, both from a millennial and Latino/Hispanic perspective?
•• Does the organization have Latinos in their leadership ranks in a way
that demonstrate there is an opportunity for younger Latinos to attain
continued growth and be positioned in top roles?
•• Is the organization positioned to be an employer of choice with strategies
to attract and retain the growing Latino millennial workforce?
•• Is the organizational leadership taking a holistic and systemic approach
in addressing the growing and changing demographic through recruitment,
personal development, leadership development, diversity, inclusion,
and change management strategies?
These are just some questions that organizations, their leadership, and
their human resources departments need to consider and reflect on as they
develop plans (if they have not already done so) to address how they intend
to assimilate Latinos into their ranks. Organizations that are not proactive
will play catch up, be in a reactive mode, and possibly be too late to capitalize
on the changing diverse wave that will affect organizations in this country in
the coming two to three decades.
Implications for Organizations, Leaders, and Human Resources
Now that we have offered some seminal questions for organizations, going
forward when it comes to working productively and creatively with the
demographic changes that are continuing to evolve and which are changing
the country, we will now offer a few comments on the implications of the
central thesis of this article which is that the change in the workforce is no
longer hypothetical, the reality is upon us and it is time to take stock of the
•• It is important to recognize and celebrate the differences and uniqueness
of the 21st-century Hispanic/Latino Millennial and the times we
are living and working in.
•• It is important to understand the diversity and non-monolithic nature
of the Hispanic/Latino millennial.
•• Recognize and adjust to the shifting paradigm of career development
within the Latino workforce and the fact that the times do not encourage
employee loyalty unless the organization is able to adapt inclusivity and
(Blancero et al. 17) openness in employer-employee relations. This includes identifying strategies for engaging and retaining Latino millennials.
•• As part of the cultural restructuring of the organization, accept the
impact of the times that include the globalization, technological explosion,
and connectedness making the world flatter and smaller.
•• Understand that the demographic changes also affect the purchasing
power of Latinos and where and how they choose to spend their
•• Consider how to create effective leader-employee relations that will be
imperative for organizational success. Address this issue from a holistic
perspective by focusing on attraction, organizational branding,
recruitment, development, recognition, diversity, and retention.
•• Understand the issues related to acculturation and biculturalism of
Latinos along with a possible cosmopolitanism view of the world that
is becoming an important part of this generation of Latino/Hispanic
•• Consider the changing need for human resources and its practices
from the 20th century to a more diverse workforce in a technologically
connected global society in the 21st century.
Implications for Further Research
More research is clearly needed on this growing Latino demographic and its
implications for the workplace. This research should address some of the issues
mentioned above, from acculturation to biculturalism and more recently the
growing trend toward cosmopolitism. In addition, there should be increased
research on what organizations can do to improve the career growth of Latinos as
it continues to increase in the workplace. Organizations and its leaders need to
consider what implicit biases and micro-aggressions are working against Latinos
from increasing their numbers in leadership roles?
We also recommend that there should also be research conducted on the
differences of Latino millennials born in the United States and those born
abroad. It will be interesting to note the difference, if any, of cultural values.
Of course, Latinos are not a monolithic group and, ideally, research that
allows for the comparison of domestic-born Latinos compared with those
who were born in other countries would be useful. There should also be more
research on the shift from acculturation and biculturalism to cosmopolitism,
which is the argument we advance in this article. Have these constructs
evolved and changed since they were first used in the study of Latinos and
should our thinking be reframed as we study Latinos in American society in
the 21st century? Research should also look into the leader-employee relationships
needed in the 21st century with this growing demographic and
18 Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 40(1)
As millennials are now of age to be in leadership positions, it is
important to look at the leader-employee dyad when the Latino is the leader
as well as the employee. There is much to be done in order to have organizations
be adequately prepared for future Latino/Latino millennial leadership.
While the authors recognize that Latino and Hispanic have different origins and have
different meanings for some, the authors chose to use them here interchangeably simply
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article.
The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication
of this article.
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Donna Maria Blancero holds a PhD from Cornell University. She is the associate
dean of business and an associate professor of management at Bentley University. Her
research focuses on experiences and challenges of Latinos at work. She is also the
division chair elect for the Gender & Diversity Division for the Academy of
Management. She is a national speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion, Latino
leadership, strategic networking, and implicit bias. She is the founding editor of the
Business Journal of Hispanic Research.
Edwin Mouriño-Ruiz received his PhD from Barry University. His major area interests
are leadership, diversity, and the societal trends affecting organizations. He is
currently a senior consultant for the BB&T Leadership Institute, an organization
focused on executive and leadership development. He is an experienced human
resources professional and Air Force Veteran leading key elements of organizational
leadership development projects. He has lead and supported the development of all
levels of leadership and organizations through culture change efforts that included
leadership development, learning & development, and diversity projects in a variety
of organizations and industries. He has experience educating and consulting leaders
on leadership, team development, and organizational change, and has served as an
executive coach. Last, he’s been both an adjunct and full-time professor teaching
leadership, human resources, and organizationally related topics.
Amado M. Padilla received his PhD in experimental psychology from the University
of New Mexico. He is professor and chair of developmental and psychological sciences
in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. He has received a
number of honors including a Distinguished Scholar Award from the American
Education Research Association, Distinguished Contribution Through Research
Award from Division 45 of the American Psychological Association (APA), and the
Lifetime Achievement Award also from Division 45 of the APA. In 2011, he was
presented with a Presidential Citation from the president of American Psychological
Association for his commitment to the discipline of psychology and to Latino psychology.
He holds fellow status in the American Psychological Association, the
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American
Education Research Association (AERA).