Recent surveys reveal that a majority of employees at all levels said they were willing to hire and work with others who have a criminal record.
The two studies were conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute.
“A positive view of the employment of people with criminal backgrounds is emerging, with the research finding that a majority of HR professionals see little differences in quality of hire between those with and those without a criminal background,” SHRM pointed out.
At companies that hired workers with criminal records, employees rate the quality of their work as comparable to those without a record, with 82% of managers and 67% of HR professionals saying the quality of hire for workers with criminal records is about the same or higher than that of other workers.
When asked why job offers were extended to those with criminal records, the managers said they wanted to hire the most qualified candidate irrespective of criminal record. Other reasons included wanting to give people a second chance and making the community a better place.
Barriers continue to exist, however, with 46% of HR professionals saying their company requires job applicants to indicate their criminal history on an initial employment application.
Other barriers inlcude employer concerns about legal liability, customer reactions and regulations that prohibit hiring or make it difficult to hire.
“It’s time to put an end to the stigma that holds back inclusive hiring and retire outdated employment practices,” said SHRM President Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “With unemployment falling below 4%, employers must think differently about both jobs and the people who can fill them.”