A difficult employment market combined with a drastic rise in college tuition, has led to an increase in academic fraud according to a recent report released by the Graduate Prospects on the eve of the launch of its new academic credential verification service powered jointly by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and Universities UK.
Graduate Prospects surveyed over 1,300 students last May and more than 40% thought that the higher price of a college degree and a increasing competition of jobs could make lying about academic background an attractive option for some graduates. More than two-thirds said the situation would make a fake degree a more tempting prospect, while less than a quarter said that people would be less interested in lying about their credentials.
The good news was that more than two-thirds of those asked recognized that lying about their academic background is against the law, although a third said that didn't stop at least one of their friends from doing it in order to gain an advantage in competition for work.
The top four qualification lies graduates are most likely to lie about are:
— Grade – give a higher class than they actually achieved (47%)
— Course completion – say they completed a course when they only finished part of it (29%)
— Subject – give a different course subject to suit a job's requirements (13%)
— Qualification – say they have a degree when they don't (11%)
Graduate Prospects designed the survey as part of the development process of its new instant Higher Education Degree Datacheck which would allow employers and other interested parties to perform a verification of academic information provided by prospective employees on their resumes, online.
Funded by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills via HEFCE and supported by Universities UK, HEDD is being launched to help combat education fraud by making it simpler and quicker for employers to check candidate qualifications. It currently costs universities more than £2m annually to fulfill degree verification requests1 HEDD will make it easier for institutions to monitor, audit and report on inquiries
The questionnaire results convinced the chief executive of GP, Mike Hill, that there was an increasing need for such a product in the current economic climate. One of the features of the new system is that it allows those running the verification to distinguish between candidates trying to deliberately misleading on their CVs and those who provide wrong information in error.
Although 50% of those surveyed said that they expect that a vast majority of companies check academic qualifications before making offers of employment, in reality only a tiny portion of small businesses and about a fifth of larger companies actually run background checks on their perspective employees.
Interestingly, 89% of students and graduates said that by just having the knowledge that that their qualifications were going to be checked would make them less likely to lie. If someone is willing to lie at such an early stage, how can you trust them when they become part of your organization? It's incredibly important that employers validate who they are recruiting.