Latino Workers’ Jobs In US ‘Most At Risk’ Amid Threat from Digitization

Latinos could account for 78% of the new labor force in the US by 2030, but automation and digitization could pose a threat to their job security, according to a report by the Aspen Institute

Latinos now represent 18% of the US workforce Foto: FreePik
March 07, 2023 | 04:15 PM

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Bloomberg Línea — The advance of digitization and automation is causing concern in the US workforce, but according to a study by the Aspen Institute, it is Latinos in the United States who are most at risk of being displaced from their jobs.

Latinos now represent 18% of the US workforce.

The Aspen Institute’s estimates published in its report Opportunities, Employers and Challenges of the Digital Economy show that this segment of the population could become 78% of new entrants into the US workforce by 2030. But to do so, they must “get up to speed” with the new skills needed to “survive”.

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The need for computer literacy, data management and word processing are already a mandatory condition for those who today fight for a job, that is why those seeking to get ahead of what is coming will require more technical digital skills.

According to the survey of more than 800 human resources (HR) professionals in eight cities with predominantly Latino citizens, in the next five years the following skillsets will be required: data analysis (49%), competence in social networks (48%), computer literacy (48%), cybersecurity (41%), data design and data visualization (40%).

The shortage of talent will be a problem that HR teams are already facing today, and it could worsen with the advance of digitization. Therefore, it will not only be enough to attract new talent, but also to prepare their teams with these new skills.

“Organizations with the highest percentage of Latino workers say that training employees in new tools and technologies is a major challenge (45%), as opposed to those organizations with lower or medium percentages of Latinos (66%),” says the study.

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In terms of limitations, budget (43%) and time (52%) are the most important, according to HR specialists. Added to this is the unwillingness of employees to learn new digital skills (38%).

But there is an even bigger problem, intrinsic to Latino communities, and that is the limited access to digital resources, software, and language tools, according to companies with the highest number of Latinos in their ranks, which makes it difficult for them to train them in new digital skills.

How are companies preparing?

The Covid-19 outbreak highlighted the importance of having digital tools and many companies took advantage of the situation to intensify their efforts toward implementing and training their labor force.

According to the survey, 75% of companies already have programs to support the development of digital skills among their employees, 73% supply training by supervisors to their work colleagues, and 59% provide training specific to a position or profession. Despite those efforts however, less than half (42%) of the companies say those programs have been successful.

However, 14% of HR specialists say Latinos have a somewhat lower participation in these types of programs.

To offer these types of skills, companies also rely on online education, four-year college programs, and community colleges.

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Unmet needs

Of the eight Latino-predominant cities, companies in Chicago, San Bernardino and San Antonio had the most difficulty in the past 12 months in upgrading the job skills of their employees.

Meanwhile, companies in Chicago, Phoenix and Miami found it more difficult to recruit qualified personnel with the digital skills required in the last year.