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December 15, 2021

Four in Five U.S. Workers Want Employers to Hire People With Conviction Histories [New Checkr Report]

Checkr Editorial

The pandemic exposed pressing issues in the U.S. workforce including labor shortages, pay inequities and hiring discrimination. As employers adapt their hiring strategies and create more equitable work environments, many business leaders and workers find enormous value in fair chance hiring, or hiring talent with conviction histories. In fact, four in five U.S. workers would approve of their company hiring people with conviction histories (80 percent) and roughly two in three executives say that they have hired people with conviction histories in the past year (63 percent). That’s according to our recent Fair Chance Hiring Report.

“Fair chance hiring presents a unique opportunity for businesses navigating the workforce in the wake of the pandemic,” said Ken Oliver, Executive Director of Checkr.org. “Hiring workers with conviction histories not only creates a more inclusive, diverse workforce, it unlocks a powerful talent pool. System-impacted individuals are a proven asset for teams and employers as a whole—their perspectives and experiences can shape and improve business outcomes and they are committed to the work they’re doing and to the companies they serve.”

The Fair Chance Hiring Report surveyed 1,200 employees who work at companies with more than 500 workers and 400 executives who lead companies with more than 500 workers to understand current hiring processes at large U.S. companies, define employer diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategies in the new world of work, and uncover perceptions around fair chance hiring.

While both groups are open to fair chance hiring, the report found that workforce stigmas may hinder efforts to make fair chance hiring a reality. While 83 percent of executives believe their company has created an unbiased hiring process, their behaviors show otherwise. Three-quarters of executives admit to searching a candidate online to learn more about their record (75 percent) and the majority say their research impacted the hiring decision. Specifically, 29 percent ultimately did not hire the candidate and 43 percent say they felt differently about the candidate. More than two in five executives say they would think less of an employee upon discovering they had a conviction history (44 percent).

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Employers have much work to do to improve DEI, and fair chance hiring can help. Roughly one in three employees say their company’s hiring process is prejudiced against certain populations (31 percent) and they feel that people with conviction histories face the most discrimination (75 percent). Most employees believe that hiring fair chance talent should be part of their company’s DEI strategy (54 percent). Luckily, three in four executives agree that companies should report on fair chance hiring as part of their annual DEI reporting (77 percent). 
  • Hiring fair chance talent isn’t just ethical, it’s profitable for businesses. The executives who have hired fair chance talent in the past year (63 percent) gave glowing reviews of these workers. They say fair chance talent sustains strong relationships with staff and managers (93 percent), works hard and goes above-and-beyond (90 percent), have been promoted for job performance (87 percent), and are loyal employees, staying at the company as long as, if not longer than their colleagues (85 percent).
  • Employers are upgrading their technology and processes to pave the way for fair chance hiring. More than four in five executives express interest in learning about how to successfully implement fair chance hiring (84 percent), and many are already on their way. Most say they’re using technology to remove bias from the hiring process (83 percent) and they have plans to invest more budget to enhance fair chance hiring programs in 2022 (79 percent).

“At Checkr, we’ve seen first-hand how fair chance talent can drive business outcomes and we’re innovating technologies to embed fairness to enable our customers to reap the benefits, too. Together, we’re working to create a more equitable future for every American,” added Oliver. 

To read the Fair Chance Hiring Report and to learn how your company can implement fairer hiring practices, find the full report here.

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“System-impacted individuals are a proven asset for teams and employers as a whole—their perspectives and experiences can shape and improve business outcomes and they are committed to the work they’re doing and to the companies they serve.”

Ken Oliver, Executive Director, Checkr.org