Second-chance hiring, explained

Second-chance hiring is when companies hire people who were formerly incarcerated.

It’s picking up across several industries, per The Wall Street Journal, due in part to:

  • A national labor shortage
  • Groups like the Second Chance Business Coalition, which consists of 40+ companies committed to the practice, including American Airlines, Target, and Microsoft.

Why it matters

There are 70m+ Americans with arrest or conviction records, and ~600k people are released from prison each year.

Finding a stable job can reduce recidivism, but there are often significant barriers.

  • More than 90% of employers conduct background checks. A criminal record can reduce chances of a second interview by 50%.
  • A 2018 analysis found that the unemployment rate among formerly incarcerated people was over 27%.

A 2014 report estimated 1.7m-1.9m people were excluded from the workforce due to these barriers, costing the US $78B-$87B in annual GDP.

Second-chance hiring results are positive

A 2021 Society for Human Resource Management report found that 85% of HR pros felt that employees with criminal records performed the same or better than those without.

They also have lower turnover rates, which in turn saves companies money.

BTW: Last week, we wrote about remote work increasing opportunities for people with disabilities.

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