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Growth of Hispanic Workers in the Workplace

By:   •  June 25, 2012  •  Case Study  •  3,665 Words (15 Pages)  •  794 Views

Page 1 of 15

Introduction

Since the 1800's, there has been a tremendous growth of Hispanics within the United States. Hispanics have been migrating to the United States, and leaving their home countries in Central and South America to "find a better way of life." Through research, many authors argue that their migration has placed such a terrible strain on the social and economic systems within the U.S. Others argue that their migration brings great benefits.

However, studies show that many managers struggle to accommodate Hispanic workers, due to language barriers, cultural differences, discrimination, and health and safety hazards, to name a few. Further studies show that even though the added diversification of recruiting Hispanic workers may have their downfalls, there are many benefits associated with them, as well. There seems to be a strong dedicated and team-oriented work ethic among many of the Hispanic workers. From a manager's standpoint, diversification within the workplace may not be easily welcomed by their other employees or counterparts, at first, but through education, training and mentoring, recruiting such ones of different cultural backgrounds, prove to be very profitable for an organization, thus, not only focusing on certain markets within the United States. This diversification brings about globalization, thereby marketing their services or products throughout the world, due to creative inputs from not only Hispanic workers, but from other workers of diverse backgrounds.

To understand why there is such a tremendous growth of Hispanic workers, one will need to observe the history of Hispanic immigration and why they chose to leave their home countries to come to the United States.

History of Hispanic Immigration

Hispanics have affected the social, economic, and cultural climate of the United States, since the early 1900's. The focus on migration only highlighted three different groups of Hispanics-Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans.

The first group to migrate to the U.S. was the Mexicans. This resulted after 1848, immediately after the Mexican-American War. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was enacted, and it allowed Mexicans to migrate to the present-day states of California, Nevada, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and parts of Arizona. Once they occupied those states, the treaty granted them the opportunity to become American citizens. The next group of Hispanic immigrants was Puerto Ricans. They migrated to the United States after the Spanish-American war. The Jones Act of 1971, resulting after that war, granted U. S. citizenship to all people born in Puerto Rico, which made it a lot easier for them to obtain residence in the U. S. The last group of Hispanics to migrate into the U. S. was the Cubans. This occurred around 1959, when Fidel Castro became Cuba's new president over the Cuban government. Around 1980, President Castro allowed many Cubans the option of leaving Cuba, which included thousands who immigrated to Florida, along with more than five thousand hard-core criminals who were released. When this happened, the United States Congress quickly passed the "Refugee Act of 1980," which allowed many of the Cuban [Hispanic] immigrants to obtain "refugee status." (Allaport, Reimers, et al)

Though many Hispanic immigrants were allowed to migrate into the United States at different periods in time, they shared common reasons of leaving their home countries, not only because of the violence and government oppressions that existed there, but to ultimately find gainful employment so that they could find alternate ways of supporting their families, and make a better life for themselves. (Allaport, Reimers, et al)

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Part One: Literature Review

This research focuses on the increase of Hispanic workers within the United States, and it's past and present effects on the social, cultural, and economic climates. Also, observations and studies will show how the increase in Hispanic workers affects the working environment, and how they strategize to incorporate diversity within their companies, or organizations.

As reported in The Conference Board, the United States Census Bureau projects the number of U.S. Hispanics households will reach more than 13.5 million by 2010, which will represent more than $670 billion in spending power. Another projection by the Census Bureau reported that the Hispanic population will account for 25% of the U.S. population by 2050. Another survey submitted by CareerBuilder.com and America Online states that hiring ten percent of hiring managers are more focused on recruiting Hispanic workers, because diversifying the workforce is a reflection of making their customers a high priority for American business. Also, there seems to be a high demand for Hispanic workers among some staffing and recruitment firms. (Barger, 2006) The reasons for this high demand is due to the admirable work ethic Hispanic workers have. Isaac Botbol reports that frontline Hispanic workers come to work ready to roll up their sleeves and keep production lines running at whatever capacity is required. Additionally, first generation Hispanic employees are eager to demonstrate their "can do" attitude, while being completely open to being shaped and developed to an organization's guidelines. They are ready to show organizational mangers and leaders that they are ready to provide quality service, and to do whatever it takes to move a product out the door. (Botbol, 2009)

Aside from the effect Hispanic workers may have on many organizations, they have social, cultural and economic effects within the United States, as well. The first issue is with illegal immigration. Many Hispanic immigrants come into the United States to take unglamorous jobs many Americans are not interested in doing, such as restaurant workers, construction workers, hotel service workers, and landscape workers. Due to rigid immigration laws, many of the Hispanic workers are illegal immigrants, which have a very big effect on the American economy. For example, in California, which contains less than half of all the illegal immigrants, the input of undocumented workers is $63 billion a year, or seven percent of the state's economic level. (Allaport, Miller)

Another effect is the high population within the U.S., which is a heavy burden to the United States. The U.S. cannot afford to take any new numbers of "foreign-born" people, states David M. Reimers. The population mark is reaching an alarming 300 million mark. (Reimer, 1989)

The final economic effect Hispanic workers place on the American economy is that it lowers American workers' wages. The Federation for American Immigration Reform states most Hispanics entering the U.S. are unskilled workers. In 1995, only five percent of Hispanic immigrants were admitted as skilled workers, with an average education level equivalent to ninth grade, and more than a third of them did not have a high school diploma. Therefore, they take entry-level jobs that many American workers could have had. The report further shows that 50% of wage-loss unskilled Americans are due to immigration of low-skilled workers. (1997)

The migration of Hispanic workers to the United States has shown to have profound social and cultural effects. Hispanic immigration is reported to affect more than just American's tax bill. Hispanic workers is seen as helping the deterioration of American's quality of life, by squeezing out native minorities, increasing ethnic tension, and widening the language gap. Studies show that Hispanic immigrants who enroll as undergraduate students in American colleges graduate and take approximately 6.5 million of the predicted 22 million new jobs the American economy will create over the next few years. Hence, the result will be continuous unemployment, and stagnant wages, for recent American graduates. (1997) However, those arguing for the increase of Hispanic workers say that they are valuable to U.S. society, because they will increase the U.S. workforce, unlike other countries with very restricted immigration policies. These critics predict that by the year 2030, the U.S. workforce will increase over 18%, while compared to the workforces of Germany, Japan, and Italy, that will decline by 15% by that same year. Critics also state that well-educated Hispanic immigrants make up 29% of all Americans who possess a Ph.D., for which most of their work is tied to research and development in science and engineering. They argue the fact that some may think Hispanic immigrants are "cheap labor," but recent studies and data show that they obtain higher degrees and make more money than their American counterparts who receive those same degrees. (Allaport)

Many challenges have been reported as a result of the increase of Hispanic workers within the United States. In recent years, studies have shown that there exists organizational conflict between Hispanics and African Americans who were integrated into predominately white workforces. The North American Journal of Psychology conducted a study among African American and white business students to compare their attitudes toward Hispanics managers relative to both groups. The perceptions show that since the Hispanic population has recently surpassed the African-American population, and is continuously growing, this disproportionate growth may affect the attitudes of African Americans toward Hispanics

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