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Latinos are ‘grossly’ underrepresented on corporate boards

Latinos are “grossly” underrepresented on corporate boards, especially given the size of America’s Hispanic population, according to a report released Friday by the Latino Corporate Directors Association.

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

The gap is even starker for Latinas — Latinas held just 1% of the 2020 Fortune 500 board seats.

“The number of Latinos on boards is so small, and we keep hearing that organizations can’t find qualified candidates,” said LCDA President and CEO Esther Aguilera. “With our growing network of LCDA members, we have proven that there is sufficient supply and that excuse no longer applies. Despite this strong qualified pool, Latinos have long been systematically excluded and bypassed. This is unacceptable in 21st century America.

The report found that historical data suggests there has been slight progress when it comes to Latinos on the boards of Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies. But Hispanics are lagging behind other groups and have the biggest gap to fill.

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

But recently that has started to change. Over the past two years, Fortune 500 companies have seen an increase in Latin American board representation comparable to the past decade, from 3.7% to 4.4%. Latin American representation on the boards of Fortune 1000 companies grew in a similar fashion, with an increase of nearly one percentage point, from 3.2% to 4.1%.

Since 2011, the number of companies with Latin American representation on their board has increased by 22%. Most progress has been made in the past three years, when representation increased by 12 percentage points from 2019 to 2022. That’s three times the increase in annual progress over the previous eight years.

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

The report is part of a series of studies presented at The Attitude, a conference focused on Latino leadership, participation and representation in American business that runs Thursday through Sunday in San Diego.

Latinos are the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the United States, at more than 62 million, accounting for more than half of the country’s population growth over the past decade. At the same time, the gross domestic product of Latinos grew by 57%, faster than the general economy of the United States.

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