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A National Survey on HR Professionals: Hiring Workers with Criminal Records

November 13, 2018

From shoplifting to more serious crimes such as robbery or even homicide, the number of crimes in Asia is rising. Meanwhile, in today’s slowly tightening labour market, companies are in need of more workers. Looking at the demographic of prison population, you might notice that most of convicts are coming from working-age adult groups. As people returning from prison to society will need jobs, hiring ex-offenders can be an option to deal with talent shortage in the workforce.

However, are you willing to hire a person with a criminal record?

Chances are, most business leaders will likely say no for various reasons. Among the most common reason includes fear that the ex-prisoners could potentially harm other employees, customers, and the business in general. As they have lived behind the bars, they might exhibit different attitudes and beliefs that would put the company at risk. However, these assumptions are not necessarily true. What if the ex-convicts are the one you are looking for and they can be your most loyal employee in your company. Would you give a second thought?

See also: Don’t Act Like the Old: The Evolution of Human Resource Department

A study from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Charles Koch Institute showed that while ex-offenders do face additional scrutiny during the hiring process, many employees, managers, and HR professionals, are open to working with and hiring people with criminal histories. The number one reason will be the decline in unemployment. This means that many companies will face a hard time finding talented people to fill their position in workplace. Therefore, they might as well change their view in hiring an ex-felon as you might as well find the best person to fill your company position. Giving them a second chance to work with you can also reduce their likelihood of being a felon again.  

According to the findings, 82 percent managers and 67 percent HR professional feel that the ‘quality of hire’ workers with criminal record is as high as or higher than without record. While 74 percent agreed that cost of hiring ex-offender workers is the same or even lower than hiring individual without record. It was mentioned that the reasons they want to do so are because they want to hire best candidates regardless their criminal history, making community a better place, and giving individuals a second chance.

willingness for criminal record workers

Given those reasons, you might as well change your view on hiring an ex-felon. These are other reasons why you should give a second thought in hiring a talented candidate with criminal history.

  • They could have higher productivity levels. Ex-offenders are often found to be a hardworking group as they recognize that their opportunity are not as plentiful as others and are more grateful for the chance given to them.
  • They might bring great skills to your company. Some prisons offer job training programs for inmates. This means that your training has already been covered and those individuals are released with a specialised skillset. Many people behind the bars are also given a chance to take a vocational training and participate in certification programs like GEDs or college degrees, which help them settle in employment when released.
  • You might have less turnover rate. Since not all employers are willing to hire ex-offenders, if you hire them, they will unlikely to quit. They can be one of your loyal employees. Additionally, they are also being monitored for drugs as part of their release as well. This does not apply to everyone who was convicted of a crime, but worth to try.
  • There could be tax incentives for employers. Hiring ex-felons within one year after they are convicted or released from prison might qualify for the Work Opportunity Tax Credit which gives employers a maximum of $2,400 for each adult hired.

Read also: Sexual Harassment Facts and What You Can Do About It

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