Why employers should consider hiring people with convictions
Latest statistics show that in England and Wales, there are around 12.3 million people with a criminal record and that only around one in four of the 50,000 people released from prison each year currently get into work within six months.
Reoffending amongst convicted criminals is thought to cost the UK £18 billion per year. Whilst Government figures state the reoffending rate is around 25%, some figures suggest that is actually as high as 40% of people reoffending within the first 12 months.
This is a huge financial cost to the UK economy and perpetuates a cycle of offending that is exacerbated by a lack of employment opportunities for people with convictions.
Reoffending is a complex issue, driven by a combination of factors that can interact in different ways. These can include unemployment, homelessness, unstable family and community relationships, and addictions – among others.
Working Chance, the employment charity for women with convictions, has published a new guide to recruiting and supporting people with a criminal record.
This is the go-to guide for hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters and presents compelling reasons why employers should be pro-actively hiring people with convictions, and outlines practical strategies to ensure equitable and risk-managed recruitment practices.
It explores how many people with convictions have committed relatively minor offences such as low-level shoplifting, or traffic violations. Their conviction(s) may have been decades ago or very recent but it can significantly hinder their ability to secure a job.
It also talks about how increasingly, employers across all sectors are seeing the benefits of proactively and strategically hiring people with convictions. The number of employers who see advantages in hiring someone with a conviction has doubled in the last seven years (24% in 2023 compared to 12% in 2016).
The top three potential advantages these employers cited were:
people with convictions would provide different perspectives
recruiting from this pool would help to tackle skills and labour shortages
it would improve the organisation’s diversity and inclusion record.
Find out more about why hiring people with convictions isn’t just about ‘doing good’ and giving people a chance; it makes sense from a business point of view too.