3 Reasons You Should Consider Hiring Ex-Offenders

Posted by Tony Hall-Turner on May 22, 2019 10:24:30 AM
Tony Hall-Turner
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A few weeks ago we were invited to talk at the In-House Recruitment London conference about the impact of Brexit on the recruitment industry. Regardless of your political allegiance on the subject I think we can all agree on two things:


  1. While Theresa fumbles her way through these negotiations were are heading into uncertain political times that will affect the recruitment industry.


  1. The only thing more stale and boring than listening to a talk about Brexit is spending months researching to deliver one. Trust me on this one!

(Want to learn more about the pros and cons of brexit in recruitment? Click Here)


Anyway, while I was researching one thing became very clear, whether we get a deal or not, it’s extremely likely that we will experience talent voids in the UK job market. This is especially true if the proposed cap on visas to those earning under £30,00 comes into place.


As a speaker though I didn’t want to just go up there and depress everybody. So I started with a story about a bladder malfunction during my last public appearance at a school nativity play, which got a few laughs. And then, perhaps a bit more usefully, I tried to offer solutions and ways to prepare for a lack of talent at the lower salaried end of the market.

You can watch the full speech here. 

The obvious choice here was to discuss attracting candidates from talent pools that have previously been ignored/marginalised like returning parents, people on the autistic spectrum, the disabled community and finally ex-offenders.


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Here’s where my mind was blown. Before I dive into why hiring them is such a good idea here’s something to consider:


Offenders who find employment after release are 30% less likely to reoffend and reoffending costs the UK economy £15 billion every year.


In simple terms that’s:  



One of those is an exaggeration by the way, but you see my point. Helping ex-offenders find work again would help the country and ease the stress on our public services.


I understand though, why should you care? If you work in an internal recruitment function and have hiring managers sending shitty emails asking why you haven’t already lined up six interviews for that overly niche job spec they sent you five minutes ago, why would you care?


Well here are a few reasons why:


  1. They are one of the easiest and cheapest audiences to target


In a world where the more specific and ‘in demand’ an audience is the more expensive it becomes to target them ex-cons buck the trend. There are even charities that will send you candidates for free! Imagine having the services of a recruitment consultant but without having the extortionate invoice and depressing feeling that you’ve just used your budget to help fund their next trip to Harrods or where ever it is they buy their overly flashy pin stripe uniform.


  1. Studies show they work harder and appreciate the opportunity more.


There are plenty of studies to back this up and it’s moved from being an assumptive statement made a few years ago to a proven fact people who are released from prison know there will be limitations on their career so will make the most of what they can get. Still don’t believe? How about this: ex-offenders who join the armed forces are 32% more likely to rise to the rank of sergeant than those who haven’t been to prison.


  1. It’s good for PR


Not so long ago the stigma around dealing with those who had been to prison was rife. Programmes like Bad Girls had totally demonised the prisoner community and it’s no wonder that a survey of North West business’ in 2006 found 90% of them were concerned that an ex-offender might pose a risk either to staff or customers – and 60% of employers thought that hiring ex-offenders could generate bad publicity for their firm.


This has changed though. A more recent study showed that 92% of inclusive employers who hire ex-offenders have said it’s dramatically enhanced their reputation – often helping them win new contracts.


So there you have it, if you’re looking for new ways to fill your roles or preparing yourself for talent voids then you should really consider the ex-offender marketplace.

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As an agency we specialise in Employer Branding and helping companies target different audiences with their recruitment message so if you’d like to know how to attract ex-offenders or any other demographic please get in touch and we’d be happy to help you.

Topics: Employer Branding, Candidate Attraction Campaign