Seek Employers That Understand Diversity as an Asset

by Vainrub, Claudine Friday, November 14, 2008
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Coming from Venezuela, a country where only a very small percentage of workers are non-immigrants, and little diversity discrimination is felt, we perceive drastic differences between the views of diversity and minorities in the U.S. and other countries in the world.

Reality is that the business world is every day more global. Minorities are rapidly growing, especially Hispanics, and so is our buying power. Quoting the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, “The buying power of Hispanics — now the nation’s largest minority group — will exceed $860 billion in 2007 and is whizzing its way to more than $1.2 trillion five years from now.”

With this said, can a Fortune 500 corporation afford not to acknowledge the importance of including minorities as part of their staff? Would you want to work for a company, even if it is a Fortune 500, that does not embrace diversity?

Looking for a job can be a daunting task. It is easy to get depressed when knocking employers doors and getting “dings” (rejection letters). This is why, as I career coach, my advice is, don’t let it happen very often! Do as much as you can to ensure that when you find an opportunity, it will be a lasting one.

If you are a minority recruit, here are some criteria to evaluate if a company would be a good fit for you, from an article by The Star Tribune of Minneapolis entitled Look for clues to company’s attitudes about minorities. Ask your interviewers:

• ”Does the company have a director or vice president of diversity?

• Is there a minority internship program?

• How diverse is the board of directors? The majority of Fortune 500 companies have directors who are mostly white and male. There are some companies, however, that have women and minority directors who can and do shape the company’s business direction and culture.

• Is there a diversity statement on the company website? If the company has a diversity statement endorsed by the CEO, then chances are good that there is a strong commitment to diversity.”

Also consider what initiatives is the company taking towards marketing for diversity customers, do they conduct diversity advertising, do they contribute to diversity non-profit organizations.

Employment interviews always allow a chance for the recruit to ask questions. Take that chance and ask what initiatives the company is leading to get a piece of the $1.8 trillion minority buying power. And then evaluate, is this a winning corporation, one where I can have a long-term success career?