Hiring the formerly incarcerated brings with it a boatload of stigmatisations and uncertainties. However, ex-offenders have been found to take a valuable position in many workforces with a growing sense of interest amongst many younger hires.

Benefits for employers

As long as you are following the same recruitment process as all other candidates, you have no need to worry about the ability of the ex-offender to do their job. Additionally, research suggests they are more likely to remain committed and loyal than another employee. This is a sad result of stigmatisation, which makes it difficult for them to find work elsewhere but it rewards inclusive employers like yourself.

Furthermore, the most significant way of reducing the likelihood of the formerly incarcerated to re-offend is to get them into employment. As such, hiring an ex-offender is not just improving their life and your company’s profits, but also benefits society – something many consumers are recognising increasingly.

Take a look at our list of reasons to recruit an ex-offender:

1. Filling crucial skills gaps

The prison system has begun to understand the difficulties faced by offenders upon release.  Employment is the essential barrier to overcome. As such, prisons have started to teach a range of skills, many individuals leave with professional qualifications and an enhanced skill set. 86% of employers who hired an ex-offender reported that they are good at their job; this underutilised talent pool could provide perfect individuals to fill both your vacancies and skills gaps.

2. Increasing the diversity and inclusivity of the workforce

Employing an ex-offender contributes to the diversity, inclusion and social responsibility of your business. This will help strengthen your brand reputation and in turn, may assist with securing new customers. With 81% of people viewing businesses who hire the formerly incarcerated as making a positive contribution to society, it is clear that employing an ex-offender could make a significant impact on your organisation.

3. Reducing absence and increasing retention

In providing ex-offenders with an opportunity to get their lives back on track and stay out of prison, many have high levels of loyalty, motivation, attendance and performance. With only 17% of ex-offenders finding employment within a year of release, it is understandable why they value the opportunity of employment so highly.

Furthermore, it has been found to encourage other employees to see someone value their job so much. This means that you are increasing the retention rate of all your staff by creating an inclusive workforce.

4. Lowering initial recruiting costs

With prisons offering access for employers to interview candidates, businesses could save a lot of time and costs otherwise spent on advertising. Ex-offenders are a readily available pool of talent that can be tapped into by businesses looking to fill vacancies, hiring a qualified individual and saving money at the same time.

How to recruit ex-offenders

Often, there are fundamental barriers in the recruitment process that inhibit the employment of ex-offenders. As an employer, it is essential to take a look at your current recruitment policy to ensure you are not putting these individuals at a disadvantage.

There are several aspects to address, including:

Ensuring you understand the criminal record disclosure legislation

  • Making sure you understand the rehabilitation legislation
  • The ability to provide tailored support to these individuals
  • Consider joining initiatives such as the Ban the Box campaign

While you may be cautious of the risk of hiring an ex-offender, it’s important to remember that risks are present everyday amongst most business decisions. Importantly, risk can be managed, and the benefits an ex-offender could bring to your organisation are too great to ignore.