Employee theft has jumped by a fifth (19%) as the rising cost of living triggers a wave of workplace crime, new data suggests.
National figures based on Freedom of Information data from 43 police forces in England and Wales. Reveals almost 6,000 workers were caught stealing from their employer in 2022, up from 5,000 the year before. This amounts to nearly 500 incidents every month.
The biggest increase in thefts occurred in Lincolnshire, up from 40 to 71 incidents – a rise of 44%. By police force, the highest rate of employee theft was recorded in Northamptonshire, with 43 incidents per 100,000 people, while the lowest was found in Dorset.
Ranges of employee theft
Employee theft ranges from petty pilfering of office supplies to the theft of data and embezzlement of company funds.
Recent claims include a £150,000 theft by a ring of employees at a food manufacturer and a £50,000 claim from a double-glazing firm defrauded by its finance manager.
As cost-of-living pressures mount, employee theft has significantly increased, suggesting some workers could be turning to desperate measures to make ends meet. These consequences of employee theft can be devastating for companies, resulting in reduced profits, lower staff morale and in extreme cases, even bankruptcy. Consumers also lose out through higher prices.
No business is immune to theft in the workplace, which can go undetected for years, and occur at all levels. Unless firms have the right protection in place, they have little chance of recovering stolen cash and goods, and may face other expenses, such as regulatory fines.
Reducing the risk
Firms can reduce the risk of employee theft by implementing robust payment controls, regular audits, and a positive work culture.
Fraudsters are using ever more sophisticated techniques to trick employees into divulging sensitive information. So making it crucial that employers have robust security measures in place, alongside effective cyber awareness training to help staff detect and avoid these scams.