Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Multicultural Job Seekers

Employment search sites have reported a surge in traffic as a result of the 8% national unemployment rate. Since Hispanic and African American unemployment is above 10%, one would imagine that they represent a sizable portion of these unique visitors.

Back in January, attorney Cyrus Mehri filed a civil lawsuit against the major advertising agencies in the US. His firm cited data gathered in a commissioned study that shows a clear lack of African American representation in the industry. Some stats showed that African Americans made up just 5.8% of professionals and only 3.2% of managerial roles despite representing 14% of the population. Mr. Mehri's firm also found that blacks earned 20% less than their white counterparts. While the study did not include Hispanics, one would assume that a similar trend persists. Both minority groups contend that they are mostly relegated to roles in multicultural agencies, if they are hired at all.

With high unemployment and rampant layoffs at top ad agencies, where can multicultural job seekers turn to find career opportunities? Career Builder and Monster, the top two job seeker sites have developed diversity enhanced sites to address this need.

For example, Career Builder partnered with MSN Latino to launch EmpleosCB, a site targeted to Latino job seekers. Monster.com partnered with the NAACP to launch a diversity search site.

Despite some of these targeted opportunities, the challenge still remains that there are few jobs to fill and now more competition than ever. But one thing is certain, advertising agencies in the enviable position to hire during this economic crisis should strongly evaluate the potential contributions of a more diverse staff.

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