The chained elephant in the room: Why employers should be open to hiring ex-convicts

The chained elephant in the room: Why employers should be open to hiring ex-convicts

Many employers are wary of hiring ex-convicts, but there is a glut of proven benefits for those who do. For starters, because it is so hard for these individuals to get employed, when you do hire an ex-convict who wants to re-enter society, they are some of the most committed employees, and the data backs it up. Over 80% of employers of ex-convicts have positively rated their reliability, motivation, attendance and performance.

It also benefits your PR. Hiring ex-convicts reduces their risk of reoffending, and marks you out as a fair-minded socially conscious employer. 79% of people think that businesses employing ex-convicts are making a positive contribution to society.

Finally, for employers facing a skills shortage, a willingness to hire anybody with the right skills is a must. In prison, there are many opportunities for education and vocational training. Many prisoners come out of prison with highly employable skills, only to be rejected by employers in need of those skills. It is an enormous waste of talent.

With benefits aplenty, why are so many employers reluctant to hire ex-cons? We think it mirrors the general anxiety people have around former criminals. It’s understandable that employers are reluctant to have a proven thief manning the cash register, or someone with a history of violence dealing with testy customers.

However, there are ways of filtering out those who are only out of prison ‘for now’ and selecting those who want to work. For example, you can partner with a training organisation like us. Everyone who comes through Portland Training, completes our courses and obtains their qualifications wants to work. Our courses are not (too) tough, but they do require commitment.

We at Portland Training are proud to say that we do our part to help ex-convicts back into society. We take many ex-convicts onto our courses. We equip them with the skills they need to participate in the workforce, from soft skills like time management and self-esteem to technical skills like laying concrete and handling a forklift.

While we do what we can, we hope employers will continue to open their minds and give more former offenders a second chance. By doing so, they are helping themselves and society all at once.

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