Background screening is on the rise across Asia Pacific (APAC), according to a report from screening firm HireRight. The study, which included an audit and analysis of checks conducted by the organisation across APAC in 2017 compared to 2018, noted a significant 17.7% increase in the total number of screenings completed year-on-year.
These encompassed criminal, employment, education, credit, and professional license checks among others. Employment screenings in particular saw the strongest growth, increasing by 20.1% in the same time frame.
Despite an increase in the number of background checks conducted, the study also revealed that APAC candidate discrepancy rates – marked when the information provided by a candidate does not match records – have improved modestly from 16.0% in 2017 to 15.1% in 2018.
Of course, the landscape varied from country-to-country. Delving deeper into the findings, HireRight provided a breakdown for some of the most notable markets with the biggest shifts in checks and discrepancies:
Australia recorded an overall discrepancy rate of 19.5% in 2018 – marking a slight improvement from 20.4% in 2017, but still higher than the 2018 regional average. Interestingly, Australia was found to have the highest criminal discrepancy rates in the region at 1.3% in 2018 (1.9% in 2017), while all other markets’ rates were negligible.
2018 proved a good year for Hong Kong with the country’s overall discrepancy rate falling more than four percentage points from 21.4% in 2017, to 17.0% in 2018. Employment checks were the most common form of screening across both years. That said, it was educational discrepancies that dominated, with Hong Kong noting unusually high rates of inaccuracy. One in five (20.8%) education screenings marked a discrepancy in 2018 (25.8% in 2017), compared to a regional average of 9.4%.
India boasted the lowest discrepancy rates across all of APAC, standing overall at 12.5% in 2018 (15.8% in 2017). In particular, India made great strides in professional license discrepancies, down from 15.8% in 2017 to 5.9% in 2018 – possibly due, in part, to recent government crackdowns. The country also saw the highest growth in employment checks, increasing by 25.1% 2017 to 2018.
Singapore’s overall discrepancy rate stood at 18.3% in 2018 – down from 20.1% the year before. Employment checks were found to be the most common type of check, growing by 24.1% from 2017 to 2018. Meanwhile, employment discrepancies fell by 2.5%.
However, the most significant shift was in credit. As Singapore continues to position itself as a leading financial centre for the region, it is perhaps unsurprising to see that credit checks increased by 8.7% year-on-year. That said, credit discrepancies too rose dramatically from 0.6% in 2017 to 2.8% in 2018 – one of the only examples of an increase in inaccuracies from across APAC.
Commenting on the findings, APAC General Manager at HireRight, Ko Hui Yen said: “It’s reassuring to see that the tides of change continue to sweep through the region, placing background screening at the top of the hiring agenda. And we’re collectively reaping the rewards, with inaccuracies becoming less and less frequent.”