How much do you really know about your employees?

Updated on 22 January 2016

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How much do you really know about your employees
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The demand for background screening services in South Africa and Africa has risen by 11% over the past five years, with qualification checks being the most requested background screening service in 2015. This is according to Managed Integrity Evaluation’s (MIE) 2015 Background Screening Index released this month.

MIE Director and CEO, Ina van der Merwe says there is increased recognition of the benefits of screening both existing and potential employees, which include “improved quality of hires, staff retention, mitigation of risk and reputation harm as well as assistance in managing costs.”

Van der Merwe says, “This is unsurprising due to increased awareness of the worldwide qualification fraud epidemic and recent publicity around South African public figures standing accused of lying about their academic achievements.”

According to the Index, a candidate’s educational history is the most likely to contain discrepancies when compared to all other background screening checks.

“Out of over 470 000 qualification checks conducted in 2015, more than 70 000 qualifications were found to be negative, inconsistent or fraudulent. This includes candidates deliberately forging or altering their certificates, altering results or never having been awarded the respective qualification”, says van der Merwe.

The Index results also reveal that the most common qualification discrepancies found were international at 42.01%, African at 33.90% and National Secondary Department (pre 1992 Grade 12) at 29.55%.

Root of the problem

The increasingly competitive job market means that “job-seekers are becoming more and more desperate for employment,” says van der Merwe.

“This desperation increases the risk of job-seekers lying about their professional, criminal and academic histories.”

Risk of financial losses

Van der Merwe says they have also noted an increase in candidates’ credit histories being found unfavourable, which has serious implications for the financial industry.

“Financial departments and institutions are therefore at higher risk of facing liability and unnecessary financial losses if they do not screen potential and existing employees who handle cash or finances. This does, however, have to be done in line with the regulations set out in the National Credit Act Amendment 19 of 2014 (NCAA),” she adds.

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