“Friendly” employers

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The chances are, anyone who has been involved with the criminal justice system will have experienced some difficulty in relation to employment. 

The Fair Checks campaign state that 50% of employers would not hire someone with a criminal record. That’s a pretty scary statistic when you’re trying to make positive steps in your life. 

Ban the Box

Ban the Box calls on UK employers to give people with criminal records a fair chance to compete for jobs. They encourage employers to remove the tick box from application forms and instead ask people about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process. 

Employers who have signed up to the Ban the Box campaign:-

  • Do not request information about unspent criminal convictions on application forms
  • Examine their own recruitment policies and practices to identify how positive disclosure of criminal convictions can take place later in the process
  • Register their commitment to offering fair opportunities for people with convictions on the Ban the Box website

A list of employers who have signed up to the Ban the Box campaign is available on their website.

Friendly employers

The charity, Unlock*, has a list of employers known to recruit people with convictions. 

Some of the largest organisations on this list include:

  • Compass Group
  • Co-op
  • Enterprise
  • Greggs
  • Iceland
  • Pets at Home
  • Sainsburys
  • Virgin Group

In time, we are hoping to develop a similar list of Scottish “friendly” employers. Watch this space!

Supportive recruitment agencies

We are not in a position to recommend specific private sector organisations. However, thanks to community recommendations, we are aware of Ex-Seed, which is a private recruitment agency that supports people who have a criminal record.

They have a very comprehensive list of “friendly” employers on their website, which may be of use to people looking for work.

Their founder, Phil Martin, has also written the book ‘How To Get a Great Job When You Have A Criminal Record: A clear pathway into employment or self-employment including all the templates you need to get results’, which some people may find helpful.

Although the recruitment challenges of some convictions are more pronounced than others, Ex-Seed has confirmed that it works with people with every type of conviction. 

If you are aware of any other supportive recruitment agencies in Scotland, please Contact Us so that we can feature them here.

Being Self-Employed

If you decide that being self-employed is the best option for you, you may find our Self-Employment page helpful.

A table with examples of appropriate language use

*Unlock is a charity based in England and Wales. Although much of the information on their website is applicable UK wide, some does not apply to Scotland.

They also provide a free helpline. However, if you do contact their helpline, it is important that you tell them that you live in Scotland, because many of the laws are different.

A table showing the notification periods for the various sentence types. Prison sentence of 30 months or more (including life), Indefinite. Order for lifelong restriction, Indefinite. Admission to a hospital subject to a restriction order, Indefinite. Prison sentence of more than 6 months but less than 30 months, 10 years. Prison sentence of 6 months or less, 7 years. Admission to a hospital without a restriction order, 7 years. Community payback order with an offender supervision requirement, The length of the offender supervision requirement. Any other sentence (e.g. a fine or admonition), 5 years.
Last updated:
March 5, 2024
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