SINGAPORE: The number of employers employing ex-offenders has more than doubled over the last seven years.
2,872 companies collaborated with the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE) last year, compared with 1,381 companies in 2004.
SCORE said that other than the service industry, more are being employed in the manufacturing, logistics and hotel industries.
These statistics were shared by Minister of State for Home Affairs Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament on 29 February.
One such company is food outlet Eighteen Chefs. It currently has three branches in Singapore.
Of its 45 staff, 30 per cent are former offenders or at-risk youth.
SCORE said some employers are still hesitant about hiring ex-offenders.
Most of their concerns are about whether employees who are former offenders are able to perform at the same level as other employees.
But director of Eighteen Chefs, Benny Se Teo, said that while employing ex-offenders can help ease the manpower crunch, hiring ex-offenders should not be seen as charity work.
For 20-year-old Gary Lau, finding a job at Eighteen Chefs was a much needed break.
He was sent to a Boys' Home for his involvement in gang activities.
Lau said: "Some bosses would look at my impression and say, "Oh my God!", this guy got so many tattoos. At Eighteen Chefs, they're understanding."
Teo said: "In Singapore, the labour market is very tight. Every industry is looking for people to work for them. You have to think very clearly, are you helping them or are they helping you?"