Working Links the leading specialist welfare provider has launched its research report in regards to employer’s current attitudes to ex offenders seeking work.

Working Links has made policy recommendations after publishing its ‘Prejudged: Tagged for Life’ report, which highlighted employer atttides to ex convicts across the UK. Due to significant findings from the report, Working Links is now calling for policy reviews and a consultation looking at a new Discrimination Act.

Working Links commissioned in depth independent research into employer attitudes towards ex-offenders, revealing that criminal convictions are often used by employers to reject people from the recruitment process.

The report found that 55% of employers would use a disclosed conviction to reject an applicant outright or would discriminate against them compared to an equally qualified candidate with no conviction.

Only 20% of employers have knowingly recruited an ex-offender.

Employers wrongly believe ex-offenders will lack honesty and reliability compared to other candidates whereas in reality over 60% of employers of ex-offenders found that they worked as hard, if not harder than those with no convictions

47% of employers had no policies in place regarding ex-offenders but 67% would welcome guidance into this area

In response to the findings Working Links have asked for a consultation on a new Offender Discrimination Act to evaluate the potential to further limit the ability of employers to discriminate against people with convictions, including the reconsideration of the requirement to disclose minor offences and the length of time until many offences are considered spent.

Working Links work with thousands of offenders, delivering employment and skills schemes through their various government schemes.

Debbie Ryan, Director of Market Development at Working Links said:
“Over 17% of 18-52 year olds in the UK have a criminal record and 74% of ex-offenders are jobless on leaving prison. Not only is employment vital to help people reintegrate into society, but this equates to huge costs to the welfare and benefits system and vastly increases re-offending rates, again at an enormous cost to society.