Many companies are modifying their hiring standards in a big way, according to Business Insider, which reports that more and more employers are relaxing their drug policies and considering hiring ex-cons.
And, according to research conducted by CNBC and SurveyMonkey, 10% of small businesses reported — for the first time last quarter — that they’re even considering implementing a new perk — paying off a portion of a new hire’s student loans.
While navigating a national job glut of more than 7 million, it appears that many businesses are seeking to break out of their usual comfort zones when dealing with company hiring restrictions: 14% of companies have relaxed their drug policies in the last quarter, and 12% are considering applicants with criminal records for the first time.
According to the Prison Policy Initiative, former felons had a 27% unemployment rate earlier this year, compared to a 3.7% unemployment rate for the population in general. This leaves a large number of potential workers available, many of whom have been languishing in this often-marginalized status.
And when it comes to drug policies, Business Insider says that cultural shifts — such as the increasing number of states legalizing marijuana — have pushed businesses to mirror the societal acceptance of recreational users. Meanwhile, a report by Axios cites plummeting labor rates in geographical areas where opioid prescription rates are high, suggesting a need for businesses to open their doors to workers who have struggled with addiction.
A recent article by NPR documented the challenges faced by workers in addiction recovery. Many struggle to overcome gaps in their resumes due to stints in rehab or prison, and legal obligations for ex-users on probation can often eat into the workday.
A job portal called Retrofit Careers is targeting workers in recovery, attempting to pair them with potential employers. Some states are even compiling what they refer to as “recovery-friendly workplace lists.”