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Employee theft increased 19% in 2022

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Businesses face more challenges maintaining the compliance of the existing workforce

With the cost-of-living crisis seemingly driving worker theft up, specialist background screening and identity services firm, Sterling, has warned businesses to be mindful of the cost of a bad hire.

This latest warning comes following reports from insurer Zurich UK, that employee theft had increased 19% in 2022 when compared to the year before. It’s become increasingly crucial to minimise the potential risk a new hire could pose to an organisation, especially as household budgets fall under further pressure during the cost-of-living crisis.

To compound this, employers are also facing a shortage of workers — with data published by BusinessLDN, FSB London, LCCI and CBI London revealing that two-thirds of employers are struggling to fill open vacancies. Sterling has warned of the compliance and financial dangers of rushing through the hiring process.

Steve Smith, President of International at Sterling commented: “The cost of a wrong hire can be detrimental to a business on a number of levels. Aside from the wasted time and money invested , the risk posed to a firm is significant. During a period of continued skills shortages, there can be a tendency to focus on speed of hire, which has the potential to negatively impact robust and compliant staff screening.

“With the cost-of-living crisis hitting households across the UK, this latest data from Zurich does suggest that businesses are set to face more challenges both maintaining the compliance of the existing workforce and monitoring any potential red flags for new recruits.

“While this scenario is arguably being driven by a very unique economic climate, it does highlight why robust screening processes which look at more than an individual’s right to work, qualifications, or experience is a must. Social media screening, for example, can help to identify the level of risk of fraudulent or unscrupulous behaviour that an applicant poses to the brand. This is, however, fraught with a range of compliance challenges in itself as screening through these online platforms needs to be handled with due care.”

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