Latinos are “largely” underrepresented on corporate boards

Latinos are “largely” underrepresented on corporate boards, particularly given the size of the Hispanic population in the United States, according to a report released Friday by the Federation of Latino Corporate Directors.

Latinos make up 19% of the US population, but in 2020 they held 4.1% of the Fortune 500 board seats. By comparison, whites held 82.5% of those seats, blacks 8.7% and Asians 4.6%.

The gap is even more pronounced for Latinas – Latinas occupied just 1% of board seats in the 2020 Fortune 500.

“The number of Latinos on boards is very small, and we continue to hear that organizations cannot find qualified candidates,” said LCDA President and CEO Esther Aguilera. “Through our growing network of LCDA members, we’ve demonstrated that there is an abundance of supply and that excuse is no longer valid. Despite such a strong qualifying group, Latinos have long been systematically excluded and bypassed. This is unacceptable in 21st century America.”

The report found that historical data suggests some slight progress has been made when it comes to Hispanics on the boards of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies. But Hispanics lag behind other groups and have the widest gap to close.

From 2010 to 2020, Latino representation on the boards of Fortune 500 companies increased by only 1.1 percentage points.

But recently, this has begun to change. In the past two years, Fortune 500 companies have seen an increase in Latin board representation compared to the past decade, increasing from 3.7% to 4.4%. Latin representation on the Fortune 1000 company’s boards of directors progressed similarly, with an increase of about 1 percentage point, from 3.2% to 4.1%.

Since 2011, the number of companies with Latino representation on their boards of directors has grown by 22%. Most of the progress has been made in the past three years, when representation rose by 12 percentage points from 2019 to 2022. This represents a threefold increase in annual progress over the past eight years.

The report says that while the Fortune 1000 list shows some progress, “even at this rate, it will take decades to reach parity.”

The report is one of a series of studies presented in Latitudea conference focused on Latin leadership, engagement, and representation in American businesses that takes place Thursday through Sunday in San Diego.

Latinos are the second largest racial or ethnic group in the United States, numbering over 62 million, which is more than half of the country’s demographic growth in the past decade. At the same time, Latinos’ GDP grew by 57%, faster than the overall US economy.

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