HR and IT workers are the professions most likely to lie at work, according to new research.
The survey by online expenses management provider, webexpenses, found that four out of five (80 per cent) UK HR workers have committed at least one deceitful deed at work, even though just 39 per cent admit to being dishonest in the workplace.
This ranks HR as the profession most likely to lie in the office, alongside IT which also tops the list at 80 per cent, and against the UK average of 74 per cent. At the other end of the scale, those working in sales, media and marketing jobs are the most trustworthy – only 60 per cent admitted to fibbing.
Adam Reynolds, CEO of webexpenses, said: “This research shows that dishonesty is potentially a far bigger problem in the UK workplace than we may have realised.
“When we delved into the nitty gritty of what constitutes being dishonest – from ‘pulling a sickie’ to making fraudulent expense claims – we found that workplace dishonesty in the HR profession is far more common than people like to admit. However, HR workers are at least the most likely to own up when asked outright if they were dishonest in the workplace.
The report also reveals that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of people in HR have over-claimed on expenses, the same number (27 per cent) have also stolen stationery and nearly a third (32 per cent) have lied about having a doctor’s or dentist appointment.
The top reason HR workers gave for being dishonest was simply the fact they think it is ‘normal’ to be dishonest at work, with half (50 per cent) citing this as their main excuse. Worryingly, more than one in ten (13 per cent) said their bosses were dishonest so they might as well bend the rules too.
When it comes to expenses, of those who admitted to over-claiming, 45 per cent said it was because they thought everyone else was doing it. More than a third (36 per cent) said they don’t feel they get paid fairly so make up for it by over-claiming.
Reynolds added: “Despite this, it’s still worrying that so many people say they have over-claimed on their expenses, as this can result in huge costs for businesses – more than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed who work in HR admitted to having over-claimed by £100 or more – nearly double the UK average (27 per cent).
“It’s even more worrying to see the reasons these people give, such as the fact it’s easy to do and it being a way of topping up their salary. This demonstrates why it’s so important that firms have a robust expense management procedure in place, including clear policies that state what is an acceptable claim and checks to make it difficult to get away with fraudulent claims.
“Businesses should also look to tackle the ‘dishonesty culture’ by creating a more open environment; for example, allowing employees to give their feedback and shape not only their company expense policy, but the way their organisation operates as a whole.”