Over 70 million Americans have a record or one in every three, and more than 19.5 million people have a felony conviction. Once a system-impacted individual begins their job search, they face a long uphill battle and significant challenges to find meaningful employment. Formerly incarcerated men can expect to earn 40% less than their counterparts (Nation Employment Law Project).
Those of us who lead Talent, HR, and People teams are in a unique position to directly impact recidivism rates by shaping our companies’ policies on hiring individuals with a conviction history. When these individuals apply for jobs, we can choose if their applications are met with a high degree of bias and scrutiny or with fairness and compassion. Roughly 600,000 individuals will be released from incarceration this year. Through fair hiring practices, we can remove some of the barriers standing in the way of meaningful employment for these individuals.