There are a number of trends that are contributing to the rise of ex-offender applicants within the hiring pool, and businesses should be aware of this as they hire in the coming months.
The following are some realities employers should factor in when it comes to hiring this year:
A Decriminalization of Nonviolent Crimes
An increased emphasis on rehabilitation for drug users as well as the decriminalization of nonviolent crimes could lead to more ex-offenders applying for jobs. The United States has the highest prison population of any developed country worldwide, with over 1.5 million total inmates as of 2013 according to The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The U.S. has just five percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of its total prisoners. At this time, there is bipartisan support to address the overcrowded prison system in our country.
The Workforce Is Shrinking
Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that civilian labor force participation has been declining over the past 16 years, falling markedly in 2007 with the recession. Factors include an aging baby boomer generation retiring in larger numbers, people giving up their search for work, and more persons collecting disability payments. The net effect is a smaller viable workforce.
New Liability Protections for Employers That Hire Ex-Offender Applicants
Many states are also offering a liability limitation for employers who are willing to give ex-offender applicants a chance. In some cases rehabilitated offenders will receive a “certificate of employability” to assist with getting a job. However, some states will simply offer protections for businesses that hire ex-offender applicants with records.
The “Ban the Box” Movement Continues
The growing “Ban the Box” movement is removing the criminal history question from applications as well as delaying inquiries into criminal past. It is expected to spread to even more cities and states this year, assisting ex-offender applicants in their quest to reintegrate into society. It will be important for employers to comply with EEOC Criminal Record Guidance in their screening processes and background checks.
The United States is known as a country of opportunity and second chances. However, businesses and their staff also deserve a safe and smoothly functioning workplace. The trends discussed here highlight the value of using professional background screening to strike an ideal balance.
Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is for information purposes only and is not intended to provide professional or legal advice regarding actions to take in any situation.