Opinion Piece: As unemployment skyrockets, temporary employee vetting is critical
By Jeandie Leone, Commercial Manager at Workforce Staffing
9 December 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic has increased South Africa’s unemployment problem to new extreme levels. The result is that many job seekers have become desperate, and in some instances qualifications and experience are falsified in order to secure employment. This issue is particularly relevant in the temporary employment field, which makes employee vetting more important than ever.
Statistics South Africa reports that 2.2 million jobs were lost in the second quarter of 2020, bringing the total unemployed people to 4.3 million. This is in addition to more than 20 million individuals who are classified as ‘not economically active’. The economy shrank by 51% between March and June 2020, the sharpest decline in decades. This all paints a bleak picture for the South African employment and economic landscape.
For many, the lockdown measures meant job losses, pay cuts or a ‘no work, no pay’ principle. During this challenging time, people still had to meet their financial commitments such as loans, school fees and basic necessities. Delays with Temporary Employer / Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) payments, as well as employers unable to provide advances to cover TERS claims due, have exacerbated the situation.
As the saying goes, desperate times call for desperate measures. The economic climate has resulted in a significant increase in job seekers falsifying elements of their CV in an attempt to secure employment or better wages.
In the Temporary Employment Services (TES) business there has been a noticeable increase in prospective employees being dishonest about their employment history and qualifications. This is done in an effort to distinguish themselves from fierce competition for the same job, made worse by currently high unemployment levels. There is also a trend toward dishonesty around previous criminal convictions, where a ‘clean’ record is essential for the position.
What’s the harm?
One has to compassionately take into account that employees are facing dire circumstances, and in their view the need to earn may seem to outweigh the risk of resorting to unsavoury practices to make ends meet. However, the reality is that if your actions amount to fraud, it is a criminal offence, no matter the intention or reason for the actions. This means employees may face prison time for these criminal offenses.
Fraudulent educational certificates and identity documentation (ID) are also on the rise. Information like this can be easily verified and employers who do not invest adequate time and resources to properly vet prospective employees might draw the short end of the stick.
Depending on the nature of the work, employees who are not properly skilled and qualified might cause serious harm. Apart from possible stock losses, injury and damage to property, reputational damage is also a possibility. Companies cannot afford the risk of being known to employ incompetent staff or unable to deliver on deadlines because of labour inefficiencies.
The right partner is key
A compliant TES partner can ensure that suitable employees are recruited and vetted before starting their employment. Vetting processes differ and depend on many factors, such as the seniority of the position recruited for, the scarceness of the skills required and the job specifications from the employer. A reputable TES provider can offer a complete vetting and staffing solution, depending on the requirements specific to the job. In addition, experienced interviewers are adept at reading the body language of prospective employees, asking the right questions and identifying suspicious behaviour and information.
TES partners have a well-established database of potential employees with a wide range of skills and qualifications. This ensures a quicker turnaround time in recruiting suitable candidates as most vetting procedures have been done previously. Investing in an experienced recruitment partner will mitigate the risk of employing unsuitable employees and save time so that you don’t have to sift through hundreds of CV’s for a specific vacancy.
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