1 in 3 job applications in Singapore contains discrepancies: Study

Most of the discrepancies were uncovered in candidates' work history - which included employment dates, positions held, key responsibilities, remuneration and reasons for leaving - as well as in their educational background.
Most of the discrepancies were uncovered in candidates' work history - which included employment dates, positions held, key responsibilities, remuneration and reasons for leaving - as well as in their educational background.PHOTO: ST FILE

Discrepancies are rife in employment applications in Singapore, which has the highest rate in the Asia-Pacific, according to a study by global background screening firm First Advantage.

Almost a third - 30 per cent - of job applications analysed in the city-state last year were found to have discrepancies.

Most of these discrepancies were uncovered in candidates' work history - which included employment dates, positions held, key responsibilities, remuneration and reasons for leaving - as well as in their educational background.

Also, more than a fifth - 22 per cent - of the discrepancies in Singapore were financial-related misrepresentations, in terms of the individuals' negative financial records regarding bankruptcy, credit, financial regulatory and anti-money laundering.

For employers in Singapore, a major financial hub, their highest priority in candidate screening was in financial-related checks - such as civil litigation, bankruptcy and credit checks, First Advantage said. These accounted for 36 per cent of all screenings in the country last year.

Aside from Singapore, three other economies were also hotbeds for candidate discrepancies. Hong Kong followed closely in second place in the region with a 26 per cent discrepancy rate, while the Philippines came next at 24 per cent, and Malaysia had a 20 per cent rate.

South Korea had the lowest rate in the Asia-Pacific, at 5 per cent.

In terms of the volume of background screening requests, First Advantage said firms most often request such checks in May each year.

"This surge (in screening requests) corresponds with significant numbers of candidates switching employers following receipt of their Lunar New Year bonuses - resulting in an annual surge of applications, hence required screenings," First Advantage said.

It collated data from some 219,000 background check reports, comprising more than one million individual background checks it conducted throughout last year.

It screened job candidates in nine economies across the Asia-Pacific: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the Philippines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2019, with the headline '1 in 3 job applications in S'pore contains discrepancies: Study'. Print Edition | Subscribe