Why Should I Hire
Someone with a Criminal Record?

People do not deserve to be disqualified and barred from employment due to their previous involvement with the justice system, but many employers pass over these candidates. Over 1/3 of working-age U.S. adults have a criminal record, a disproportionate share of which are people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and people with histories of abuse or mental illness. For millions, that experience leads to substantial hurdles toward achieving gainful employment, leading to high unemployment and businesses missing out on eager, talented workers. Research also shows that HR professionals and hiring managers consider the value of employees with criminal and/or conviction records to be high as or higher than that of workers without those experiences Learn More

The leading reasons hiring managers and HR professionals alike extend job offers to workers with criminal records are:


The hiring of most-qualified candidates from a truly diverse pool.


The intrinsic value of giving people second chances at employment.

Stronger Community

The opportunity to improve the community around them.

2.3 million

Americans are incarcerated.

1 in 3 adults

(or 75 million Americans) have a criminal record.


Participation in correctional education results in a 43% reduction in recidivism.

The key to reducing recidivism and improving public safety is finding employment for people. If individuals with a criminal record can be considered for employment based on their talent and skills, the benefits for the business — and society — are far-reaching. HR professionals are well-positioned to provide counsel and generate a tailored set of best-practice principles that will benefit both the business and the individuals seeking a second chance.
Source: SHRM/CKI Workers with Criminal Records Survey (SHRM, 2018)

Real People,

Real Stories.

Opportunity for Everyone.

Whether an individual has completed a period of incarceration or just has a criminal record, unnecessary barriers persist and create a societal problem where productive citizens are deprived of employment opportunities and organizations are deprived of qualified talent,creating harmful downstream consequences for millions of people.
The Getting Talent Back to Work initiative is led by the SHRM Foundation, the philanthropic affiliate for the Society for Human Resource Management. In response to the First Step Act becoming law, this initiative was created, in partnership with Koch Industries, to end outdated, non-inclusive hiring practices and get those with criminal histories a fair chance at employment.
The SHRM Foundation is committed to elevating and empowering HR as a social force, leading positive social change impacting all things work. SHRM impacts more than 115 million employees through the work of its more than 300,000 HR and business leaders globally. Learn more about the SHRM Foundation at shrmfoundation.org or follow the conversation at #WeAreWork.