More than 20% of APAC job applicants submit inaccurate information, research says

by HRD19 May 2017
Employers beware: More than 1 in 5 (21.5%) of job applications in the Asia Pacific region submit inaccurate background information, according to data from screening firm HireRight. The figure is almost thrice the global average (9.7%), but is still lower than the previous year’s 29%.

The disparity between the regional and global rates can be traced to the regional difference in the “maturity” employers’ screening programs. The practice has long been adopted in the west. It is only gaining traction in APAC, with multi-nationals spearheading growth, said the firm.

Japan had the highest rate of discrepancies (33.9%), while the Philippines notched the biggest drop from 47.6% to 29.8%.  Results were based on background checks performed by HireRight in 2016.

Discrepancies are marked when an applicant’s information does not match records of their previous places of employment, education or other relevant organisations and databases. These can include dates, education, qualifications, positions held, and job responsibilities.

Singapore’s discrepancy rate (24.7%) was also above the regional average, but lower than the previous year’s figure (28.4%). Most discrepancies were observed among professional licenses in the city-state, as one in four (25%) candidates inaccurately reported license information – twice as many compared to 2015 (13.8%).

“A possible explanation for this uptick could be that, amidst a slowing economy and a more competitive job market, employers looking to make better informed hiring decisions are extending background checks to include professional licenses, thereby increasing the number of professional license checks being conducted (and discrepancies identified) in 2016,” said the firm.

Discrepancies on employment history saw a 0.5-percentage-point rise from a year before to 16.5%. Inaccurate data on education qualifications and history among Singapore applicants sharply fell to 18.3% in 2016 from 40.9% the previous year. “With increasing publicity over the last two years regarding the pervasiveness of false degrees issued by diploma mills and employees embellishing their educational backgrounds, perhaps candidates are being more cautious when submitting educational history details.

The Ministry of Manpower has measures in place to safeguard against false academic qualifications. These include its internal education database system, supplementing verification through either specialised third-party screening agencies, or checking directly with the issuing educational institution. For foreign workers, it may also require employers to authenticate qualifications declared in work pass applications.

HireRight said the use of background screening in talent acquisition processes is picking up momentum in the APAC region. “Increased awareness concerning the consequences of CV fraud likely is deterring candidates from misrepresenting their employment histories.”


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