Would you employ someone with a criminal record?

Issue 6 2022 Security Services & Risk Management, Commercial (Industry), Risk Management & Resilience

In 2018, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) partnered with the Charles Koch Institute to launch research on individuals with criminal records in the workforce in the USA. In 2021 they revisited the topic, with some interesting findings. Recently, the 2021 ‘Getting Talent Back to Work Report’ was issued by SHRM.

Whilst the findings are US-based, it is worth unpacking the main elements of the report. Business leaders believe:

• 81% – workers with criminal records perform as well or better than people without criminal records.

• 73% – workers with criminal records are as dependable as workers without criminal records.

• 56% – happy to work with workers with criminal records.

• 49% – would assist in training workers with criminal records to aid their transition.

The report states that 67% of HR people have employed workers with a criminal record. The breakdown of criminal record types is as follows:

• 69% – substance-related offences.

• 67% – minor offences like shoplifting or vandalism.

• 37% – property theft, arson.

• 20% – assault.

• 23% – fraud.

• 11% – sexual offence.

Why people would not consider someone with a criminal record:

• Reputation damage to the company if it was discovered they employed workers with a criminal record.

• Employees’ reactions to other workers with criminal records.

• The behaviour of individuals with criminal records.

Main reasons for hiring employees with a criminal record:

• Hiring the best person for the job, regardless of criminal status.

• Wanting to give individuals with a criminal record a second chance.

• Wanting to make the community a better place.

Many companies have removed the criminal record check from their employee screening policy because they believe it is irrelevant during the hiring process, and they want the best talent regardless of the criminal record status.

When Sonya Skipp, general manager of iFacts, was asked for input on these statistics, she said that while in South Africa many companies still did criminal record checks as part of their employee screening programme, the situation was very different due to the high rate of unemployment. This did not necessarily mean that there were more people with high levels of skills, but it did change how recruiters think.

She also stressed that companies must follow labour law. In South Africa, if a criminal record check is used to exclude a candidate from the recruitment process, the conviction must be relevant to the job in question. Regardless of where the check was done, Skipp said that it was essential for recruiters and business leaders to consider the following when a candidate presents with a criminal record:

• Was it a major or minor crime?

• How long ago was the offence committed, and what was the sentence given?

• Is the candidate a repeat criminal offender?

In addition to the above, Skipp said that employee screening was a complex programme and having a criminal record should not merely exclude a candidate or be discarded in the employment process. It is essential that the candidate is honest in the interview/application process and discloses the conviction. The programme should include other tests/verifications, and examples of these are:

• Verification of qualifications.

• Job-specific licence verifications, e.g. driver’s licence.

• Social media risk assessment.

• Integrity tests.

• Company culture and value integration assessments.


Credit(s)




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Understanding the power of digital identity
Access Control & Identity Management Security Services & Risk Management Financial (Industry)
The way we perceive business flourishing is undergoing a paradigm shift, as digital identity and consumer consent redefine the dynamics of transactions, says Shanaaz Trethewey.

Read more...
What you can expect from digital identity in 2024
Access Control & Identity Management Security Services & Risk Management
As biometric identity becomes a central tenet in secure access to finance, government, telecommunications, healthcare services and more, 2024 is expected to be a year where biometrics evolve and important regulatory conversations occur.

Read more...
The human factor side of video management systems
Leaderware Editor's Choice Surveillance Risk Management & Resilience
A video management system (VMS) is central to, and the most vital element to any control room operation using CCTV as part of its service delivery, however, all too often, it is seen as a technical solution rather than an operational solution.

Read more...
Get the basics right to win more business
ServCraft Editor's Choice Risk Management & Resilience
The barriers to entry in security are not high. More people are adding CCTV and fencing to their repertoire every year. Cowboys will not last long in a space where customers trust you with their safety.

Read more...
More than just a criminal record check
iFacts Security Services & Risk Management
When it comes to human-related risks, organisations and their most senior leaders focus on a narrow set of workforce risks, the potential risks that human workers pose to the business.

Read more...
South Africa shows a 1200% increase in deepfake fraud
News & Events Risk Management & Resilience
Sumsub released its third annual Identity Fraud Report of the year, analysing identity fraud across industries and regions based on millions of verification checks across 28 industries and over 2 million fraud cases.

Read more...
How hackers exploit our vulnerabilities
Information Security Risk Management & Resilience
Distractions, multi-tasking, and emotional responses increase individuals’ vulnerability to social engineering, manipulation, and various forms of digital attacks; 74% of all data breaches included a human element.

Read more...
Tech developments lead hologram growth in 2024
News & Events Security Services & Risk Management
Micro-lenses, micro-mirrors and plasmonics are among the rapidly-emerging optical devices that have evolved on the back of holographic and diffractive technologies, and are seen as part of the natural evolution of optical science by R&D teams.

Read more...
Rapid rise in DNS attacks drives demand for new approach
Infrastructure Risk Management & Resilience
As ransomware grows more sophisticated and DNS attacks become more frequent, businesses are increasingly trying to protect themselves by adopting innovative approaches and technologies to bolster the integrity and security of their backup systems.

Read more...
South Africans play a role in becoming scam victims
Editor's Choice Risk Management & Resilience
The South African fraud landscape is becoming increasingly risky as fraudsters and scammers look to target individuals with highly sophisticated scams, in an environment where it is becoming increasingly difficult for lawmakers and authorities to bring these criminals to justice.

Read more...