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Hispanic inclusion in corporate America lagged in 2022, new survey

Hispanic inclusion in corporate America lagged last year, particularly in three key areas — C-suite representation, talent development and supplier procurement — according to the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility’s 2023 Corporate Inclusion Index.

While Hispanics make up 18% of the U.S. workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are overrepresented in nonexempt positions, which represent 73% of the Hispanic workforce according to HACR’s research.

Nonexempt positions often offer fewer benefits, limited autonomy and fewer advancement opportunities, which can stifle the ability of Hispanic workers to advance within companies.

There’s no precise way to define success in the case of these things,” said Lisette Garcia, HACR chief research officer. “It’s more about ensuring that people feel engaged and committed and valued and that their voice matters, but that’s where benchmarking and doing these surveys matter.”

The corporate advocacy group’s annual report, which measures Hispanic inclusion in employment, procurement, governance and philanthropy, was provided exclusively to CNBC ahead of its wider release.

It includes data from 92 companies — many within the Fortune 500 — collected between January and April.

A key finding from HACR: The lack of representation typically begins right at the start of the pipeline.

While all companies that participated in the survey reported offering internship programs, only 13% of interns in 2022 identified as Hispanic.

Garcia clarified that number may in reality be higher since demographic data collection around interns isn’t always conducted.

While the vast majority of companies say they prioritize “mentorship” and “succession planning initiatives,” at 91% and 97% of respondents, respectively, almost one-third of companies said they do not have clearly defined goals or metrics to evaluate the success of internal talent development and program success.

“One way of combatting issues related to Hispanic inclusion in corporate America is investments in internship programs as a way of attracting new employees,” HACR noted in its report.

Hispanic representation on corporate boards was even more troubling, according to the findings. Just 7% of board seats at respondent companies were held by Hispanics according to HACR, and only 2% of seats were held by Latinas.

Almost half the companies surveyed had no Hispanic board directors.

As for supplier diversity, HACR found fewer than 1% of companies supplying to survey respondents were Hispanic in 2022, and just slightly more than 1% of total spend was with Hispanic-owned businesses.

Garcia also noted those results amount to best estimates, not perfect numbers, since companies aren’t required to collect demographic information for their supplier pool. She also shared in her research that the companies collecting this data and sharing their results are often those committed to leading the charge.

“Companies who really understand the value of this work for their business bottom line are going to be the ones that keep moving forward,” she said. “The sheer numbers of population growth and buying power tell us that companies aren’t going to really have a choice.”

While Hispanic inclusion lagged, HACR noted survey participation was up 12%, offering hope for future improvement.

“In spite of everything that’s happening in society at large with attacks on DEI work and attacks on marginalized people in the United States, we’re seeing companies be interested in benchmarking,” said Garcia.

“There’s this renewed interest in saying, ‘Hey, where am I? What do I need to do to get better,’ and for me, that’s all I need to hear.”

Disclosure: CNBC’s parent company Comcast is among the companies that participated in HACR’s annual survey.

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