Are you interested in employing someone with an offending background but are unsure where to start?

Expert Guest Blog - Written by Emma Searle of Black Country Talent Match

Many employers tell us that they are struggling to find staff with the right talent, skills, abilities and mindset to fill their vacancies… with over 11 million people in the UK (around 20% of the workforce) holding a criminal record, can employers afford to turn their backs on these potential employees?

Of the 11 million people with a criminal record, many have committed a relatively minor offence. Many more come from disadvantaged backgrounds and despite having a wide range of skills and capabilities, they face immense barriers to working, when work is exactly what they need! Employment is a strong protective factor against re-offending, poverty, poor mental and physical health and substance abuse. By employing someone with an offending background not only will you be helping someone to change their life but you will be demonstrating your commitment to your organisations Corporate Social Responsibility.

Employing someone with an offending background can actually bring significant benefits to your business:

  • Fill the Skills Gap – Over half of Employers struggle to fill vacancies due to skills shortages. Ex-offenders have a wide range of skills to suit almost any sector making them ideal job-ready candidates.
  • Reduce recruitment costs – Filling the average non-managerial vacancy costs around £2000. Opening recruitment up to someone with an offending background can help reduce these overheads
  • Reduce staff absence – Unreliability is the biggest concern for employers  when they consider hiring someone with an offending background. However, many people with an offending background see their jobs as a vital second chance, going the extra mile to make it a success.
  • Increase staff retention – People with an offending background often have higher levels of loyalty because of the higher value they place on having a job and staying out of prison.
  • Make a difference – Most offenders want the opportunity to turn their backs on crime. Having a job helps them to stay out of prison, get their lives back on track and is proven to reduce re-offending.                                           

Of course, I understand the usual concerns that go hand in hand with thinking about employing someone with an offending background… “Will they be trustworthy and reliable? How will my other staff and customers react?” “What if it goes wrong?” “I’m not equipped to deal with someone with convictions”… BUT, not only might you be missing out on a largely untapped pool of talent, you could be falling the wrong side of the law if you are discriminating against someone because of a historical conviction.

Employers CANNOT turn someone down for a job because they’ve been convicted of an offence if the conviction or caution is “spent”. Confused about what that all means? OF COURSE YOU ARE! That’s where organisations like Talent Match come in.

Talent Match is an intensive mentoring programme that supports 17 to 29 year olds to move closer to work. We particularly focus on young people with offending backgrounds. We can support employers to safely and fairly recruit the right young people for their roles. Talent Match can ensure that you have all the information that you need to minimise any potential or perceived risks that might be involved. We continue to support both the indivdual and the employer once employment is underway to make sure that both parties are happy.

We have a FREE workshop on October 29th 2019 for employers about employing ex-offenders which is being delivered by Dominic Headley, a specialist consultant in criminal record policy and safer recruitment. We are following this with a visit to HMP Oakwood on November 7th 2019 so employers can see for themselves the work that the prisons undertake to rehabilitate their residents and see the calibre of young people who are shortly due for release… I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised!

Hopefully, I’ve piqued your interest and social conscience. Why not get in touch to find out more and attend our upcoming events? I look forward to hearing from you!


Emma Searle, Talent Match Business Engagement Advisor

01902 328973


You book directly onto our events via Eventbrite:

Workshop on Tuesday 29th October - Click here

Visit to HMP Oakwood on 7th November - Click here