A survey by Prospects has found that half of UK employers have been victims of degree fraud.
The Prospects study also found that many of these employers do not take sufficient steps to protect their business against further fraud.
The survey revealed that as much as 49% of large businesses and 48% of SMEs in the UK have faced candidates who have lied about a degree qualification (for example, individuals who were found to be inflating a grade or even falsely claiming to possess a degree).
UK employers not sufficiently vigilant against degree fraud
Prospects also found that, although 83% of the 313 employers who were surveyed believed that some of the individuals who they hired would have lied about their degrees, a fifth of said employers still did not verify candidates’ degree qualifications.
Some stated that this was due to assumptions of an individual’s integrity, or because they ultimately placed more value on the performance in the interview itself.
Hedd is managed by Prospects and was launched in 2011 to verify degrees within job and postgraduate course applications, thus protecting institutions and employers from instances of degree fraud.
Qualification checks should be ‘mandatory’
In response to the outcome of this survey, Chris Rea, Head of Higher Education Services at Prospects, spoke with Global Education Times and recommended the following steps for a business to safeguard itself against degree fraud:
“Having a formal HR policy or system in place explaining how the company goes about verifying degree qualifications is one of the best things a business can do to safeguard against degree fraud. It should be mandatory that every potential employee’s degree is checked with the issuing university.
“Many people aren’t aware that lying on a CV or application form is against the law under Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 and could result in a prison sentence of up to ten years.
“If a company finds that a candidate or employee has lied about their degree, they can report it to our Hedd fraud service, which would start an investigation. Alternatively, they could report it to Action Fraud, which is the UK’s centre for fraud crime.
“If it were made mandatory for all employers to check qualifications degree fraud would cease to exist. To help raise awareness, businesses can include information about their fraud policy on their website and in recruitment literature so that candidates are clear of the process and consequences.”
Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.
Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org