Photo: Illinois State Government Hires Few Latinos
Over the past decade, just 150 Latino employees have been added to the state workforce, according to analysis released in Springfield today by the Latino Policy Forum and the Illinois Association for Hispanic State Employees (IAHSE). More than 14 percent of labor force in Illinois, Latinos were only 4.7 percent of the state government workforce in 2010, with just over 2,000 state employees.
Employment disparities are particularly troubling given that Latinos accounted for more than 100 percent of the population growth in Illinois over the last decade. The nearly 500,000 more Latinos in Illinois compensated for White and African American population declines. Overall, Illinois grew by just over 411,000 people.
The Latino Policy Forum analysis is based on fiscal year 2010 employment data for the ten largest state agencies, on file with the Secretary of State, which represent 93.3 percent of the employees in coded state-level positions. Of the 44,841 employees, less than five percent were Latino. Of new hires, only 7.6 percent were Latino.
“Race-based hiring practices are illegal—race or ethnicity should not be a factor in any hiring decision, at the state level or otherwise,” said Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum. “But the bottom line is that the state has cited workforce diversity as a priority, and it is falling woefully short of its goals in this area.”
Even with this small gain, the workforce remains overwhelmingly white: Nearly 72 percent of employees are Caucasian. At 21 percent of the workforce, African Americans hold five times more jobs than Latinos, the largest minority in the state.