The ongoing talent shortage issue may lead to more businesses hiring ex-offenders. Currently, talent shortages are still affecting the UK labour market with unemployment rates on the rise, according to recent data from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This is a welcomed initiative as ex-offenders have been facing stigma, making it harder for them to secure employment after their release. They are often overlooked and face significant barriers to becoming employed, with many of them often not given the chance by employers.
Now, more companies are looking to tap into this demographic to widen their talent pools as they need more people to fill vacant roles. Not only beneficial to the employers but employing ex-offenders also reduces the chance of re-offences and also gives them a chance to contribute to society.
Research commissioned by Sodexo, food services and facilities management company that runs six UK prisons on behalf of the Ministry of Justice and Scottish Prison Service, discovered that 61% of British businesses are anticipating hiring ex-offenders within the year. However, 17% admit to only start looking to employ ex-offenders if the position has not been filled in six months.
The research was done as part of Sodexo’s campaign “Starting Fresh” which was created to encourage and guide businesses to hire ex-offenders.
They also found the current trends in businesses and hiring ex-offenders through this study. From this, they discovered that 30% of British business leaders do not employ ex-offenders currently. Further, 43% are struggling to fill over 10 vacant roles and 16% of hospitality businesses are struggling to fill 31-40 positions.
Knowing that starting to explore hiring ex-offenders may be a good solution to fill the gap while also giving a chance for individuals who struggle to break the barriers and stigma in employment.
Support from the Government
The UK Government has put in place schemes to further employment in ex-offenders. In an online guide, they highlighted the benefits of hiring ex-offenders.
They mentioned that ex-offenders are a readily available talent pool, which will reduce time and costs for recruiting. Additionally, they also highlighted the reliability of ex-offender employees, as 80% of their employers have positive experiences with their reliability.
Acknowledging that this is a positive move that will benefit all parties involved, the government has introduced various schemes to further the employment of ex-offenders.
The schemes include funding through the Employability Innovation Fund, which has been designed to enable prison governors to collaborate with more employers and training providers to provide workshops and skills classes to further the employability of inmates.