Report calls on employers to hire more ex-offenders to help fill job vacancies

Report calls on employers to hire more ex-offenders to help fill job vacancies

…By Henry George for TDPel Media.

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mployers should hire more ex-offenders to help fill Britain’s 1.1 million job vacancies, a new report argues.

ReGenerate’s Good Jobs Project, set to launch on Monday, is lobbying to get those from marginalised groups, such as young people in or leaving care and the “invisibly disabled”, into work to address the “vacancy crisis” and help people.

The initiative is backed by businesses including bakery chain Greggs and shoe repair and key-cutting firm Timpson, whose bosses worked with the charity on its report called The Purpose-Driven Business Solution to the UK’s Labour Shortage.

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The year-long study found that the UK is “facing one of the worst labour shortages in its history” and argues the best solution is for bosses to target the vast numbers of people that are commonly overlooked for jobs.

The solution to the UK’s record labour shortage is hiding in plain sight.

These groups also include people who are currently or have recently been homeless, refugees, those with mental health problems and over 50s, it notes.

The foreword to the report states: “Over the last year the UK has experienced record-breaking vacancies, which currently stand at 1.1 million, which many businesses are struggling to fill.

“As ever, UK businesses are innovating to remain successful, but are operating in a very complex environment.

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“Simultaneously, there are millions of individuals from communities that have been historically excluded, including people with disabilities, prison leavers, and single parents who face difficulties in finding flexible employment opportunities.”

The report highlights that many employers take a “blanket ban approach” to hiring people with criminal records, excluding potentially suitable candidates.

“Only 17% of ex-offenders each year are in work within 12 months of leaving prison and half of employers would not consider recruiting an applicant with a criminal record,” it notes, citing Government data.

The report argues that this type of recruitment is good for business and philanthropic.

Ed Boyd, chief executive of ReGenerate, said “The solution to the UK’s record labour shortage is hiding in plain sight.

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“There are millions of potential workers who are rarely given a chance because they may have disabilities, criminal records or are neurodivergent.

“Yet these people could make great employees, and make a major contribution to making companies more successful.

“It is a real win-win.”

It is too easy for talented people to be held at arm’s length because they may have a criminal record.

ReGenerate has developed a range of proposed reforms, including giving employers a 12-month holiday from paying employer national insurance contributions for taking on some marginalised people.

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Roisin Currie, chief executive of Greggs, said: “We’re passionate about people and believe that everyone deserves the chance to thrive in employment.

“By not overlooking potential employees – be that because of their past or disability – we can select the right person and develop them to their full potential.

“We’ve been working with people leaving prison for a number of years through our dedicated Fresh Start programme.

“The passion and energy for work that comes from people who are given an opportunity to kick-start their careers, or to turn their lives around is clear for all to see and as a business, we feel extremely motivated to do all we can to give these people a fresh start.”

James Timpson, chief executive of Timpson, said: “It is too easy for talented people to be held at arm’s length because they may have a criminal record, are neurodivergent or have a physical disability.

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“I have seen first hand how looking past such issues, and hiring on talent and character alone, not only benefits society by giving people a second chance, but helps businesses thrive too.”

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