Around 47 million people quit their jobs last year in what has now been coined the “Great Resignation.” Even as the first quarter of 2022 comes to a close, companies are still struggling with the ongoing labor shortage.
However, one group of potential talent has largely been ignored during this staffing struggle: those with a criminal record.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), just 5% of managers and 3% of HR recruiters seek candidates that have criminal records. But they may want to reconsider as the race to fill roles grows tighter.
“Not only does it build a new talent pool of workers to help address the nation’s ongoing labor shortage head-on, but it also gives a second chance to those in need,” said Brian Matthews, senior vice president at Apriss Insights. “This movement provides a great opportunity to strengthen businesses and improve inclusiveness in the workplace.”
According to SHRM, 82% of managers believe that the value of employees with criminal records brought to a company is either equal or higher than those without records.
Not only does this help boost the company’s operations overall, but hiring those with criminal records can address the systemic problems within the US prison system that disproportionately impacts people of color. Hiring these people has also been found to reduce recidivism, which is the likelihood to reoffend.
Discussions about diversity in the workplace have grown tenfold in the last few years, and by addressing these gaps in inclusivity, companies can aid in making long-lasting change that has a positive impact.
However, simply hiring those with a criminal record is not enough. Employers who want to make real societal change should also provide these workers with opportunities within the workplace and education.
“Support from employers is crucial for individuals as those who participate in education programs have a 43% lower chance of being reincarcerated than those who do not,” said Matthews.