As the employment market shows little signs of the usual changes that come with a recession, in part two of our series on unusual places to find new recruits, we consider the advantages of giving a new start to an ex-offender or opening up your workplace to a disabled future star.
1. Young, ex-City workers
Why? The pandemic has led to lots of people reassessing life’s priorities and what they want from work and their career, in particular.
Long before this crisis began, in fact around the time the last recession really got going, a group of young former City workers, all looking for more than the day-to-day grind of earning big bucks at a bank, searching for work with more meaning and purpose, founded escapethecity.org.
If you are an employer that can really offer a role with a strong social purpose, then this could be the perfect talent source for you. Candidates are young, hungry, dynamic high-achievers looking for a role with more purpose than just the money. The same is true of 80,000 hours who will post jobs with very strong social purpose (solving the world’s big challenges).
Tip: If you're looking to fill a high-tech, developer type role, then Azeem Azhar’s Exponential View is a well-known website and podcast, that also runs an interesting jobs board specifically aimed at high-tech employers and job seekers.
Why? There’s an argument to be made this is one of the most enterprising and entrepreneurial groups in society. Putting such glib notions aside, there is a vast pool of talent locked up in, or just about to be released from, the prison system.
Unlock, the prisoner employment charity, estimates this population at 11 million. That’s a lot of potential recruits.
The shoe repair and key cutting business Timpson, is a great example of an employer that actively hires from this resource, going so far as to put training centres in prisons (excluding its key cutting services). Other firms include Gregg’s, HSS Hire and law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Derringer.
Giving someone the training and an opportunity to start again yields a loyal employee.
Where? The New Futures Network is part of the prison and probation service dedicated to helping prisoners find employers and helping employers get comfortable with the idea and reality of hiring former prisoners.
Unlock is a charity bringing ex-offenders and employers together. The Reducing Re-Offending Partnership delivers offender rehabilitation services to help break the cycle and reduce reoffending rates in the UK.
Tip: BITC’s “Ban the Box” campaign calls on employers to give people with criminal records a fair chance to compete for jobs, removing the tick box from application forms. They propose asking about convictions later in the process. It prevents people with criminal convictions being excluded from roles for which they may be suitable.
3. The Homeless
Why? People end up homeless due to lots of reasons, or a series of unforeseen events and calamities. As the cost-of-living crisis ratchets up in the coming months, many more may find themselves in difficult situations that lead to losing their home. Things can spiral out of control quickly and in a short amount of time a life that was on-track goes off the rails.
This doesn’t mean those concerned are worthless from a career perspective. Often, they just need something to get them back on track: an opening, an opportunity, someone taking them seriously and giving them a break.
This is where an employer willing to take a chance can help, alongside a retraining or reskilling programme can help, giving them the confidence to return to a more regular and stable life.
Where? Charities, such as Beam and Only a Pavement Away can help act as a much-needed interface between employers and the homeless. Beam helps the homeless crowdfund to raise the money for retraining for a specific industry or job.
As well as the homeless, Only a Pavement Away helps people facing homelessness, ex-offenders and veterans, into careers within hospitality. Candidates are supported by a number of charities, who work with candidates to build and post a profile and help them into a suitable role, with a package of 12 months’ support.
4. People with disabilities
Why? It feels like one of the last areas of public prejudice to be addressed, but it also feel like progress is finally being made (albeit too slowly for those on the sharp end), as paralympians show what impressive feats disabled people are capable of, and disabled presenters, comedians and commentators are given something closer to a fair amount of time on TV and in films.
But things are moving more slowly for most people with a disability looking to get the most from the world of work. A tight labour market means casting as wide a net as possible makes better business sense than ever, and looking at a specialist website catering to disabled recruitment could pay huge dividends.
It won’t be right all jobs but before you jump to stereotypical or limiting conclusions, speak to an expert, you will be surprised.
There is also a crossover here with military veterans and the work of organisations such as Walking with the Wounded.