20% of employees admit to theft in the workplace

With threats to small businesses already prevalent, the news that employees are willing to steal from their employers, simply for the sake of it, because they thought they might get away with it or even to take “revenge” on the company because they feel that they weren’t getting enough from them, is particularly worrying. But that’s what the most recent research from labelling website Data-Label has uncovered.

Having surveyed almost 2000 people in the UK to find out what the levels of threat were to businesses big and small, asking them: “Have you ever stolen something from your place of work?” shockingly, one in five confessed that they had done so, and that’s not even counting those who wouldn’t admit to it.

Fortunately those items that are most frequently being stolen from offices and workplaces across the country are not usually large or expensive. When asked what they’d taken, the most popular answers were stationary, food (including from the company itself and other staff members) and toilet roll. While 85% of them believe that it won’t make a difference and no one will ever notice, this is still a threat to businesses, particularly smaller start-ups who are already balancing on the edge. It’s that 8% though that are the worry, those who admitted they’d stolen from their employers because the company owed them it and they deserved to take it by whatever means possible.

Out of the remaining people questioned who said they hadn’t ever stolen, fortunately 83% said they wouldn’t ever consider stealing in future, mostly with answers including: “Stealing is wrong, no matter where from” and “It is also a crime and should not be taken lightly”.

Speaking on the finding, Philip Carlyn of Data-Label concluded:

“For many people there is a sense of entitlement, especially if employees feel undervalued or do not believe that they are being paid a fair wage. They also feel like they are not hurting anyone either, especially with some of the smaller thefts admitted. However over time those stealing costs can add up for companies, I wonder if people would re-consider if they knew that company theft of small items and stationary was responsible for a delayed wage increase. “

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