Where many people see a struggling economy, others see a land of opportunity. Many new entrepreneurs in America are immigrants like Guillermo Perales, who has a unique perspective on why diversity in business is needed.
IRVING, TX, (24-7PressRelease) — There continues to be political debate about the benefits of immigration. Despite the fact that the United States was built by immigrants, the subject of immigration has always been a hot topic. Immigrants to America who faced controversy included, at different times, immigrant of Italian and Irish descent. In this century, Hispanic and Latino immigrants have received much attention.
Guillermo Perales is part of the immigrant population that came to America and became successful entrepreneurs. “I studied business in Texas and saw there were few minorities choosing to get their MBA like I did. Even now, there doesn’t seem to be healthy number of minority business owners,” says Guillermo Perales. But it is not only about minorities owning their own businesses or being entrepreneurs, it is also about minorities holding key positions in companies across America.
“More and more businesses are seeing the benefits of a diversified work force. Many companies have diversity efforts but the greatest gains have been in gender diversity,” says Guillermo Perales. ING came out in 2013 and admitted that out of their 7,200 employees; 56% are women and 18% are ethnically diverse. At the managerial level, 43% are women and 11% are ethnically diverse.
Still, there are still many companies working to close the gap. Part of this comes from the growing Hispanic market that seeks to buy brands relevant to their culture. This means more companies are going to have to research their clients in order to reach out to this available yet resistant market base.
“The purchasing power of immigrants and particularly Hispanic immigrants is growing. Look at what a political impact they played in 2012. The power is there but many businesses have been slow to embrace it,” says Guillermo Perales.
If companies start to learn about not only the Hispanic culture, but other minority groups in America, they will benefit from unique perspectives to further drive business. A Forbes study even found that a diverse work force helped drive innovation. According to the survey, “85% of respondents agreed that diversity is crucial to gaining the perspectives and ideas that foster innovation.” For these large companies, a diverse work force was critical for companies that wanted to attract and retain top talent, but even though the programs promoting diversity are in place, the companies don’t necessarily follow through with them.
It is no longer the problem that minorities are less educated. According to a Pew Research Center report, 69% of Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college compared to 67% of white students. With more Hispanic students attaining higher education, incorporating them into greater leadership positions within a company should be easy. “Hiring these well-educated Hispanic students after college will benefit many businesses. When American companies start to hire more minorities and their inclusion is more recognizable, that is when companies will really break into the large and growing Hispanic market,” says Guillermo Perales.
Still, the problem is one of a glass ceiling. Even though companies claim they want to hire minorities, minority numbers are still low. Much of this is due to the field of study required for leadership positions. The goal Guillermo Perales shares with others in the Latino community is getting students to pursue education to make them successful business leaders.