REC Blog

Supporting candidates with a criminal record back into work: REC launches new guide
Supporting candidates with a criminal record back into work: REC launches new guide
REC View & Campaigns 14th Sep 2018

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has today published a criminal records guide, designed to support and advise recruiters on best practice for candidates with a criminal conviction. This includes advice on speaking to candidates about criminal records and a checklist for recruiters.

Over 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record. The majority of who have been only convicted on one occasion and more than 90% of the people convicted each year do not serve a prison sentence. Yet, 75% of employers admit to discriminating against applicants with a criminal record and 1 in 7 said that they would exclude any candidate with a criminal conviction, regardless of the offence.

Jobs transform lives. Holding a criminal record should not be a damning indictment on all future job prospects. The vast majority of people who hold a criminal record are good, honest and keen to work and have learnt from their past mistakes

Employment is a crucial opportunity that reduces the likelihood that an individual will reoffend. Conversely, failure to give employment to people with convictions increases crime and costs society billions of pounds every year.

Removing the barriers faced by people with past convictions will not only provide these candidates with a fair chance at finding employment but broaden the talent pool for recruiters and employers. With candidate shortages across the UK economy, even before the UK has left the EU, UK business can no longer afford to discriminate against such a large talent pool.  

Removing barriers for people with past convictions makes sense for the UK’s society and economy as well as an individual’s wellbeing. Recruiters have an important role to play.

Recruiters are well placed to encourage employers to be as open as possible by raising awareness of inclusive recruitment initiatives like Ban the Box and Fair Chance.Organisations like OffPloy can help recruiters open up discussions with clients, arrange prison visits and provide advice on client terms. The REC’s Good Recruitment Campaign promotes an inclusive approach to recruitment across the board and provides tools to help employers benchmark and reinvigorate their hiring processes.

The REC believes that everyone should be able to pursue their chosen career regardless of their background. We will continue to promote our criminal records guide to all our members and work with organisations such as Business in the CommunityNacroUnlock, and OffPloy to ensure that those with criminal records no longer face unnecessary discrimination in finding employment.

“Recruitment agencies are an important source of job opportunities for people with a criminal record. That’s why Unlock was pleased to work with the REC to develop these good practice resources and encourage its members to support inclusive recruitment towards people with a criminal record. Expanding the candidate pool to include under-represented groups is good for individuals, good for business and good for the community. The vast majority of people with a criminal record want to leave their past behind and move forward in a positive way. Sustainable employment is key to that, and we know that employers who recruit people with convictions find them to be loyal, hard-working and reliable employees. We look forward to continuing to work with the REC and its members to put these resources into practice and help them to make the most of the skills and experiences that people with convictions can bring.”  — Christopher Stacey, Co-director of Unlock, for people with convictions

Chris Russell
Chris Russell - Policy Advisor

Chris Russell is a Policy Advisor at the REC. He leads on the REC's policy work around immigration, education, skills and Brexit. He develops policy in these areas and advocates the REC's position to government.

View More articles by Chris Russell >

Post a comment

Recruitment Industry Trends 2017/2018
Back to top
Award winning services AEA award logo