The labor shortage is a major challenge for businesses of all sizes. Employers are struggling to find qualified candidates to fill open jobs. One factor that is contributing to the labor shortage is the stigma associated with criminal records.
Many employers automatically disqualify applicants with criminal records. This is a missed opportunity, as there are many qualified people with criminal records who are eager to work. Studies have shown that people with criminal records are just as likely to be productive employees as those without criminal records. In fact, some studies have shown that people with criminal records are even more likely to be loyal and hardworking employees.
The Stigma of Criminal Records
The stigma associated with criminal records is a major barrier to employment for people with criminal records. In a study by the Society for Human Resource Management, 72% of employers said they would not hire someone with a criminal record, even if the crime was not related to the job. This bias is often based on stereotypes and misinformation about people with criminal records.
For example, many people believe that people with criminal records are more likely to be violent or dishonest. However, studies have shown that people with criminal records are no more likely to commit crimes than people without criminal records. In fact, some studies have shown that people with criminal records are actually less likely to commit crimes after they are released from prison.
The Benefits of Hiring People with Criminal Records
There are many benefits to hiring people with criminal records. For one, it can help to reduce recidivism. When people with criminal records are able to find stable employment, they are less likely to re-offend. This is because having a job provides people with a sense of purpose and structure, and it helps them to connect with their community.
Hiring people with criminal records can also boost the economy. A study by the National Employment Law Project found that hiring people with criminal records could generate $78 billion in economic activity and create 1.6 million jobs. This is because people with criminal records are a large and growing pool of potential workers. In fact, the number of people with criminal records is expected to double by 2025.
How to Overcome Bias Against People with Criminal Records
There are a number of things that employers can do to overcome bias against people with criminal records. One is to delay the criminal background check until later in the hiring process. This will allow employers to get to know the candidate and assess their skills and abilities before making a decision. Another thing employers can do is consider using a risk-based approach to criminal background checks. This means that employers would only check for criminal records that are relevant to the job in question. For example, an employer who is hiring a security guard would likely want to check for any criminal records involving violence or theft. However, an employer who is hiring a customer service representative would likely not need to check for criminal records.
Finally, employers can work with organizations that help people with criminal records find employment. These organizations can provide employers with information about the candidates and help them to develop a fair and equitable hiring process.
The labor shortage is a major challenge for businesses, but it also presents an opportunity to rethink our approach to criminal justice. By giving people with criminal records a second chance, we can help to reduce recidivism, boost the economy, and create a more just society.