Why isn’t the federal government succeeding in recruiting and retaining Hispanic-Americans?

In our view at TMP Government, this is a question that sorely needs to be asked. My colleague John Bersentes and I have attempted to frame an answer to this puzzle in an article forthcoming in the March issue of The Journal of Corporate Recruiting Leadership.

We raise concerns about issues like…

  • competition with the private sector for talented Latinos
  • the relative scarcity of Hispanic-Americans in regions where the Feds recruit most heavily
  • the absence of visible high-level government champions for Hispanic inclusion
  • the absence of multi-agency, common-cause initiatives to tackle the challenge
  • the possibility that agencies are unconsciously channeling bilingual Hispanics into customer contact positions and effectively discounting their qualifications for other career paths

The government’s lack of progress on this front is a very serious problem—especially considering the rapid growth of the Hispanic workforce in the American economy at large. If the Feds continue to lose ground here at the accelerating pace we’re observing, there will almost certainly be formal mandates from the top to kick Hispanic recruiting into gear. But I’m just wondering if a state-of-emergency catch-up policy is really the soundest human capital policy.

You can find a long excerpt from John’s and my article right now on ERE.net. Your best bet is to go here to read the posted excerpt and add your comments.

Thomas Delorme
Written by Thomas Delorme

VP, Digital Products & Strategy


  1. John Caccese

    No matter what the race, creed, color or ethnicity of particular job candidates, if you want them you have to go out and find them.

    Every organization has a profile of the qualifications they look for in top-tier candidates, right?

    Some of these people will be Hispanic. Where are they now? What are they doing?

    The concern raised about "the relative scarcity of Hispanic-Americans in regions where the Feds recruit most heavily" seems the most relevant to me.

    if my profile for candidates includes particular academic areas, desired grade-point averages and whatever other qualifications I might desire as an HR hiring manager, I should know that I’m not getting the diversity in job candidates I desire by recruiting at the same colleges I always go to. I need to look elsewhere and recruit to match my requirements. It’s not about quotas, it’s about excellence.

    Either I want my pick of the best candidates (some will be hispanic, just as others will be white or African-American or Asian) or I’m content to merely get the best I can.

    If I’m satisfied with differentiation between candidates of particular ethnicities, because I make the pragmatic decision to take the best of what I can get from the usual locales where I recruit, why should I be surprised when I get lousy retention rates.

    If I want to skim the cream of the crop of candidates, then I need to search in a lot of different places, not just the usual suspects.

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