Qualification fraud in South Africa has increased by as much as 200% from 2009 to 2014, according to new data.
CV and qualification fraud has taken the South African spotlight recently – as high profile individuals have stood publicly accused of lying about their academic achievements.
Quest, a staffing solutions company, has published a whitepaper – ‘A report on the culture of dishonesty – fraudulent qualification & falsified curriculum vitae’ – which delves into the prominence of CV and qualification fraud in SA.
“Job-seekers in South Africa face high levels of unemployment and with limited access to tertiary education, CV fraud has reached epidemic proportions,” said Quest CEO, Kay Vittee.
“While the majority of CVs contain ‘white lies’ – such as inaccurate dates or timelines, inflated job titles or embellished achievements – others contain gross qualification or experience fabrications,” she said.
South Africa’s exceedingly high level of unemployment, compounded with aggressive competition in the job market, makes it tempting for job seekers to falsify their CV or qualification.
It may also be related to a sense of entitlement in the workplace associated with Generation Y or ‘Millennials’ – born between 1982 and 2000 – the report said.
Although many may view lying on their CV as harmless, job – Vittee pointed out that lying about one’s qualifications is fraud and holds the same consequences – the possibility of a criminal record or jail time.
“Employers are also fully within their rights to prosecute employees for fraud if they wish to do so,” Quests white paper said.
South African background screening company Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE) recently revealed that the biggest culprits are those in the trade industry such as boilermakers, electricians, plumbers, millwrights, riggers and slingers, machinists, forklift operators and fitter and turners.
Qualifications such as matric certificates, short courses of between six and 12 months
as well as Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees were also notedas high risk for employers.
MIE identified an increase in the forging of these qualifications.
Emphasising the severity of the problem, the Southern African Fraud Prevention Service said that in 2013, 1 ,751 cases of employee fraud had been listed on its Shamwari fraud database.
South African qualification verification agency, QVS has also recently reported that as much as 13% of all qualifications they verify in SA, tend to be ‘problematic’.