In recent years, several studies have demonstrated the close relationship that U.S. Hispanics have with technology. Latinos are considered early technology adopters and a mobile-first audience. A Nielsen report showed that 35 percent of Hispanics say they are usually among the first people in their group of friends to try new gadgets.
With such a passion for tech products and favorable attitudes towards the tech space, one might assume that U.S. Hispanics trust technology. But the relationship between Hispanics and technology is complex and, at times, contradictory.
On one hand, we have young millennials, a generation of digital natives – Latinos account for one-fifth of the U.S. millennial population, according to the Brookings Institution. On the other hand, we have second and third generations of Latinos who still have an affinity with technology, but whose use of it and focus are different.
I believe that people tend to trust what they recognize and value as helpful, reliable, consistent and beneficial for them. The same goes for technology.
So I wasn’t surprised when the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer report on Trust and Race/Ethnicity in the U.S. demonstrated that the Latinx community is concerned about the impact of technology, with 54 percent of Latinx employees worried that automation and other innovations can take their jobs away, compared to 44 percent of non-Hispanic white American employees.
One of the reasons why this data point doesn’t surprise me is because according to a study by the Brookings Institution, the 20 most popular occupations among Latinos in the U.S. are in sectors like agriculture, construction, hospitality and housing. These jobs are, generally speaking, mostly manual, labor-intensive and repetitive, which are the kind of jobs that can be replaced by technology.
As a result, although 78 percent of the general population trust the technology industry, technology companies looking to engage with the Latinx audience must act. People fear what they don’t know; companies that educate and guide us through this constant digital revolution will have a chance to make a lasting impact in our community.
This year’s Trust Barometer also shows that 62 percent of Latinx employees believe are worried that they do not have the training and skills necessary to land a good job, followed by 57 percent of African American employees and 50 percent of Asian American employees.
However, as the saying goes: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” It is up to us to educate ourselves and be ready for the inevitable digital revolution, which is happening everywhere around us.
It is a fact that without digital skills, we Latinos can be automated out of jobs. So why wait? I truly believe that technology can change our lives for the better. It has happened in the past; it is happening today, and it will continue into the future. Explore, ask, read and learn. Be ready and open to accept technology and seize all the wonders it brings.
Erika Souza Cruz is a senior account supervisor, Brand and Media, Miami.