Employers say ex-offenders are some of the hardest workers

Construction worker working on site

Construction is one of the industries where employers are more likely to knowingly employ ex-offenders.

This story was first published on Thursday 25 October 2018. If you wish to use this content, please contact media@dese.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

The majority of employers who have hired an ex-offender have reported a positive outcome, with some saying they are the ‘best workers’.

In a survey by the Department of Jobs and Small Business, 78% of employers who hired an ex-offender said it had been a positive experience.

Ex-offenders are encouraged to be frank about their past, with many employers saying that if an ex-offender is upfront and honest about their criminal record when applying for a job, depending on the nature of the offence, they ‘would give them a go’.

The Survey of Employers' Recruitment Experiences asked employers about their experiences hiring ex-offenders and what tips and suggestions they would give to ex-offenders to help them gain employment.  

The top reasons employers gave for why ex-offenders had successfully integrated into their businesses were that they were hard working and a team player. They also said they were liked by their colleagues and customers, they appreciated the job opportunity and demonstrated the right skills for the job.

Infographic showing that 78% of employers who recruited an ex-offender reported a positive outcome.

Percentage of employers who reported a positive outcome after hiring an ex-offender

When applying for jobs, employers emphasised that ex-offenders should present themselves well, market their willingness to work and be upfront about their criminal record.

One employer from the Northern Territory said an ex-offender had been one of the business’s best workers.

‘He was one of the best workers I have ever had. He admitted at the interview that he had just got out of jail and wanted to start an apprenticeship to turn his life around - and it did.’

Employers also said that applicants who had undertaken relevant training were in good stead as it indicated a willingness to learn and a desire to work.

Additionally, volunteering or workplace trials help ex-offenders demonstrate their skills, commitment and enthusiasm, greatly improving their chances of gaining employment.

Businesses in the Manufacturing, Construction and Agriculture industries were most likely to have knowingly employed an ex-offender, the survey showed.

Along with those industries, employers in the Retail and Wholesale Trade industries were the least likely to require police checks and could provide good employment opportunities for ex-offenders.

Read Supporting Ex-Offenders Into The Jobs Market on the LMIP website.

Read more Employers' Recruitment Insights.

Time To Work Employment Service

In direct response to recommendations made in the Prison to Work report released by the Council of Australian Governments in 2016, the Time to Work Employment Service provides in-prison employment services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Find out more about the Time to Work Employment Service.

[Article correct at time of publication].

Correct at time of publication.