Integrating ex-offenders into the Australian construction industry

Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Construction Management and Economics, 2020, 38, (10), pp. 877-893
Issue Date:
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© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Contributing to the development of employment requirements as an emerging theme in social procurement theory and addressing the evidence vacuum in social procurement research and policy relating to the employment of ex-offenders, the results of a survey of 94 sub-contractors in the Australian construction industry are reported. Results indicate a relatively positive attitudes towards the employment of ex-offenders compared to other industries but also numerous barriers to sustainable employment identified. These include: perceived risks of re-offending; general behavioural problems; and lack of appropriate job skills. Considerable variations exist in perceptions of risk and practices in employing ex-offenders between trades, firm size and past experiences of hiring ex-offenders. It is concluded that policy makers cannot treat the construction industry or ex-offenders as a homogeneous whole and that negative stigmas need to be challenged through supply chain education and capacity-building programmes which provide knowledge, resources and wrap-around support services to enable the successful integration into the construction industry. Theoretically, the results spotlight the potential value of feminist theory in exploring how perceptions of ex-offenders might vary across different disadvantaged groups targeted by social procurement policies. Theories of cross sector collaboration could also be usefully mobilised to explore how new shared practices can be developed between the many organisations involved in reintegrating ex-offenders into employment.
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