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LeanIn.Org Releases First-Ever Report on State of Latinas in Corporate America

LeanIn.Org Releases First-Ever Report on State of Latinas in Corporate America


Report Shows an Alarming Trend: Latinas Experience the Biggest Drop in Representation from Entry-Level to C-Suite

SAN FRANCISCO, June 13, 2024 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Today, LeanIn.Org unveiled its first-ever State of Latinas in Corporate America report. Based on five years of data from Lean In and McKinsey & Co’s Women in the Workplace study—the largest study of its kind—the report spotlights the distinct challenges Latinas face in the workplace.

Most alarmingly, Latinas experience the biggest drop in representation from entry-level to the C-suite. In 2023, Latinas’ representation dropped by 78% across the pipeline—more than any other group of employees—while white men’s representation increased by 64% (and the same trend holds for previous years). As a result, Latinas make up just 1% of C-suite executives, making them the least represented of any group of employees.

“Representation matters,” said Sheryl Sandberg, founder of LeanIn.Org. “Latinas experience the biggest drop in representation from entry-level to the C-suite—rendering them nearly invisible at the highest levels of leadership. Not only are Latinas the least represented in the C-suite, but they also confront two significant hurdles holding them back from critical promotions. As a result, Latinas are left trailing behind men and all other groups of women. Companies can—and must—do better.”

The State of Latinas in Corporate America highlights the systemic barriers that lead to Latinas facing the biggest drop in representation from entry-level to the C-suite:

  • Latinas start their careers significantly underrepresented: Just 5% of entry-level corporate workers are Latina, compared to 9% of the population—making them the most underrepresented of any group of women at the beginning of their careers.
  • Overlooked in promotions at two critical points: The “broken rung” at the first step up to manager continues to be a significant barrier for Latinas. Later, Latinas experience a second significant gap in promotions at the step up to VP, just when the C-suite starts to come into view:
    • For every 100 men promoted to manager, only 74 Latinas are promoted
    • For every 100 white men promoted to VP, only 90 Latinas are promoted

Together, these two obstacles—the first preventing Latinas from entering management and the second preventing them from entering senior leadership—make it nearly impossible for Latinas to gain ground at the highest levels of corporate America.

  • Ambition remains strong despite lack of support: Compared to white women and women overall, Latinas are more interested in being promoted to the next level and in becoming senior leaders (87% Latinas vs. 81% women overall and 78% of white women), yet they receive less support from managers and senior colleagues. For example, managers are less likely to ensure that Latinas get credit for their work (47% of Latinas vs. 53% of white women and 51% of women overall).
  • Isolation and microaggressions hinder progress: Latinas are nearly three times more likely than women overall to be “Onlys” of their race, meaning the only or one of the only Latina/o people in the room, and they have a profoundly more difficult work experience. Latina Onlys are more than twice as likely as women overall and white women to:
    • Hear or overhear insults about their culture or people like them (15% of Latina Onlys vs. 7% women overall and 5% of white women)
    • Feel expected to speak on behalf of all people with their identity (20% of Latina Onlys vs. 9% women overall and 5% of white women)
    • Have colleagues express surprise at their language skills or abilities (21% of Latina Onlys vs. 8% women overall and 5% of white women)
  • Flexibility remains out of reach for many Latinas: Despite the growing importance of workplace flexibility, and Women in the Workplace research showing it can support employees’ ambitions, Latinas face disproportionate barriers in accessing it. They have less flexibility to work remotely, set their own hours, or step away to handle unexpected events. Even when Latinas have flexibility, they don’t always feel they can use it:
    • Only 1 in 4 Latinas say it’s “no big deal” to take advantage of opportunities to work flexibly, compared to 1 in 3 women overall

“Without tackling the workplace biases Latinas encounter, it will be nearly impossible for them to catch up to other groups of women—let alone men—in leadership roles,” said Rachel Thomas, CEO of LeanIn.Org. “Supporting Latinas’ advancement will require sustained focus and effort, but it’s work worth doing. Creating a workplace where Latinas’ talents and ambitions are fully recognized is good for Latinas and smart business.”

The report underscores the urgent need for companies to address the biases and barriers that hinder Latinas’ progress and outlines practical steps companies can take, including:

  • Expanding recruitment efforts to include Hispanic-serving colleges and professional organizations
  • Working to debias hiring and promotions by establishing clear criteria and appointing “bias monitors”
  • Ensuring employees receive both anti-bias and allyship training, with an emphasis on practical recommendations for what they can say and do

The complete State of Latinas in Corporate America report, including solutions that organizations can implement to support and advance Latinas, is available at http://leanin.org/research/state-of-latinas-in-corporate-america.

Relevant Resources:

An initiative of the Sandberg Goldberg Bernthal Family Foundation, LeanIn.Org helps women achieve their ambitions and works to create a more equal world. LeanIn.Org conducts original research on the state of women, supports a global community of small peer groups called Lean In Circles, and provides companies with programs to address the biases and barriers women face in the workplace. In addition, Lean In runs Lean In Girls, a leadership program that combines strengths-based skill building with real talk to help middle schoolers see themselves as leaders in a world that often tells them they’re not. The Sandberg Goldberg Bernthal Family Foundation is a private operating nonprofit organization under IRS section 501(c)(3).

Brittany Cornejo, Senior Communications Manager
[email protected]

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LeanIn.Org Releases First-Ever Report on State of Latinas in Corporate America