Leading specialist welfare to work provider Working Links has launched its research report, looking at employer attitudes towards ex-offenders. Working Links work with thousands of offenders, delivering employment and skills schemes through their various government schemes.
Working Links commissioned in depth independent research into employer attitudes towards ex-offenders, revealing that criminal convictions are often used by employers to reject people from the recruitment process. The findings from the research include:
- 55% of employers would use a disclosed conviction to reject an applicant outright or would discriminate against them compared to an equally qualified candidate
- Only 20% of employers have knowingly recruited an ex-offender
- Employers wrongly believe ex-offenders will lack honesty and reliability, whereas in reality over 60% of employers of ex-offenders found that they worked as hard, if not harder than those with no convictions
- 47% of employers had no policies in place regarding ex-offenders but 67% would welcome guidance into this area
In response to these findings, Working Links highlighted the urgent need for greater support for offenders on release from prison in areas such as motivation, preparing for work and building relevant skills. They also called for expert advice and support for employers both before and during employment, as well as assistance for employers in the development of effective and inclusive policies for the employment of ex-offenders.