The construction industry faces a labor shortage, and it is just going to continue to be harder to find skilled professionals. One thing contributing to the skilled labor crisis is the “box.” Most job applications ask you to indicate if you have a criminal record. Not only is the box unfair to people who have arrests or convictions, it also severely limits the pool of candidates that a company can hire from. Here’s why you should consider eliminating the box from your applications and stop asking candidates about their criminal history.

You Need Skilled Professionals Working for You

Companies that avoid hiring people who have a record are missing out on an opportunity. It also continues the ongoing stigmatization against people with records. The question is biased. You’re not judging the person based on their skills or qualifications, you’re judging them based on something they did in the past. When there is a huge talent shortage, skills and qualifications need to be the priority. There are 70 million Americans with arrest records and many of these people struggle to find work. That is too large of a candidate pool to ignore.

You Receive Less Applications

Not every person who has a criminal background will reoffend. Many crimes are small misdemeanors that didn’t cause harm to others in the first place. Some have been falsely convicted, while others have done their time and have been rehabilitated. While it isn’t necessarily true that a company that asks about criminal records won’t hire a person who has a record, but the box dissuades these people from sending an application in the first place. They tend to assume they won’t be taken seriously as a candidate, even if they have all the right qualifications. You need to attract as many applicants as possible or you might end up having to settle for someone who doesn’t have the right skills.

You Help the Community

Most people with criminal records have no desire to end up on the wrong side of the law again. They’re just looking for a second chance. Many people with criminal records will work harder because they know how difficult it is to find work. For many people who have served time in prison, trying to reintegrate into society is very difficult. They carry a stigma everywhere they go, and this leads to feelings of hopelessness. When people with criminal records have satisfying jobs, they are much less likely to be repeat offenders. People who break the law often do it out of desperation not because they’re bad people. Taking bias out of the hiring process has positive impact on these people’s lives, as well as the community as a whole.

Major corporations like Target, Starbucks, and Walmart have already removed the box because they saw the economic benefits. Because of the high unemployment rate among those with criminal records there is less money flowing into the economy. By removing the box, you can contribute positively to the overall economy while also helping your own business thrive. The skilled labor crisis is going to shake up the construction industry one way or another. Opening up the talent pool is one way to stay competitive.

How can we help you?

Searching for an opportunity in the construction industry? Contact The Birmingham Group today to discuss your career path or browse our open positions.

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