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.

Authors’ Note

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

for convenience.

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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Author Biographies

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).

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