The new Powerchex Annual Pre-employment screening survey, of 4735 job applications made to financial firms between June 2008 and May 2009, has found that 19% of applicants are attempting to deceive their employers with false or misleading information. This constitutes a 12% increase from the previous year, and marks a three year high.
The largest increase in untruthful applicants was in the under-21 year old age range. They lied on their CVs and applications nearly 30% more often than they did last year. This drastic swing shows yet another way in which the recession is affecting young people, who are competing for disappearing graduate jobs and summer internships.
Having been the most truthful age-group last year, under-21 year olds are now among the least. The survey shows that 18% of under-21 year olds will lie or hide information on their applications.
Alexandra Kelly, Managing Director of Powerchex, said: “This is the second year in a row that there has been an increase in the number of candidates lying to recruiters. The pressure of the recession on job markets seems to have led more applicants to believe that they should lie or make embellished claims to get jobs.
“It’s unfortunate to see that more young people are reacting to the pressure in this way. Their socio-economic group has been one of the hardest hit.”
The survey’s findings come at a time when 970,000 young people are reported to be unemployed.
David Willetts, Shadow Minster for Universities and skills, said: “Young people are the biggest victims of the recession. The employment rate of graduates was falling even before the recession took hold. We now have record levels of young people not in education, employment or training. Ministers are letting our young people down. Youth unemployment can scar individuals for life.”
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Powerchex is the UK’s premier pre-employment screening firm for financial institutions. Based in the City of London, Powerchex checks the background, employment history, criminal records and professional qualifications of applicants on behalf of financial institutions. It sets the industry benchmark of 5 days for a background check.
Powerchex has won a business of the year awards for three years running: DBC & East London Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year 2009; NatWest Business of the Year Award 2008; NatWest Service Business of the Year Award 2007.