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By 2020, There Will Be Fewer Whites in the Workforce Than Non-Whites

New numbers show that by the end of the decade there will be fewer white workers in the workforce than non-whites. This is the first time since record-keeping began that this will be the case.

In addition, Latinos will make up three fourths of the predicted growth in the labor market by 2020, according to the research conducted by Pew:

In 2010, Latinos made up 16.3 percent of the nation’s population and 14.8 percent of the workforce. By 2020, those figures are estimated to rise to 19.4 percent of the population and 18.6 percent of the workforce, according to the federal government.

This should come as no surprise as “baby boomers” are rapidly retiring and the Latino population is both growing fast and is younger than other demographics. As companies begin to implement practices to best welcome and utilize the skills of the budding Latino population, perhaps a better question is what is our education system doing to ready the new crop?

The numbers, while staggering, are even more telling regionally, especially in places like Southern California:

In San Diego County, the job market is expected to swell by 125,000 workers within this decade. Of those employees, 83 percent are projected to be Hispanic. That would boost the total share of Hispanics in the workforce from 29 percent in 2010 to 33 percent in 2020, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.

The study, which also tried to predict growth industries in the upcoming decade, found that younger workers no longer expect to be in one industry or with one employer throughout their career, meaning that much of the responsibility of training a new generation of workers will be left up to the education system. Most Latinos joining the workforce over the next decade will be native born unlike their parents and will be educated in American schools. Many new careers will require college degrees, meaning that schools will have to better prepare Latino students and ensure they graduate:

“Over the long run, we are shifting from a foreign- to native-born labor force that is more likely to be educated in the U.S.,” and that spurs broader Latino representation across many industries, said Kochhar at the Pew center.

Education is a key factor in the ongoing transition, said Barrales from the chamber.

“The traditional education system is failing Hispanic youth, and we need to focus on reforms and innovations if we are going to remain successful economically and in society,” he said.


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