With more than 14 million South Africans now finding themselves with no means of employment, companies and hiring managers have to be more aware than ever of the potential risks that desperate job seekers will go to in order to find work.
South Africa’s economy has taken a beating in recent months, and with the dramatic downfall has come the news that our country’s unemployment rate rose by a further 2.2% in the first quarter of 2016 to a staggering 26.7%.
The statistics, as provided by Stats SA, mark a continued downward trend for business in South Africa, with more than 300 000 jobs being lost in just three industries (trade, manufacturing, and construction). Employers are now likely to face a new wave of fraudulent applications and CVs as job-seekers try to make themselves look more attractive than the 14 million other South Africans trying to find gainful employment.
From the employer’s perspective, there are a number of things you need to be on the lookout for, including falsified qualifications and professional experience. South African government provides a perfect example of the issues that arise from ignoring these problems, with numerous high-profile cases of government bigwigs having lied about their qualifications on their résumé.
The most effective way for a business to safeguard its hiring process against this form of fraud is to introduce a pre-employment screening policy that assesses and verifies a candidate’s credentials before the hiring process even begins. By doing so you will be able to ensure that the candidate you ultimately choose to fill a particular position is the right fit for the job at hand.
An additional consequence of rising unemployment rates in South Africa is a simultaneous growth of alcohol and substance abuse across this demographic. Considering that our country is rated as one of the biggest consumers of alcohol per capita – an average of 11 litres consumed per capita annually – employers will have to be even more conscious of the character profiles of potential candidates.
The threat of unemployment, particularly in rough economic times, can hang heavy over existing employees, and lead to further issues in the work environment or in their private lives that begin to affect the work environment. As with the pre-employment process, continuous screening policies and procedures can be implemented to ensure that any potential employee risks can be identified and handled before they have the opportunity to have any significant effect on the business.
Ultimately there is no band aid solution for unemployment in South Africa. Until government programmes help to stem the tide of unemployment, the onus is on employers to ensure that they protect themselves against the challenges of fraudulent applicants and insider employee risks. Rather than blindly hiring candidates, protect your business with pre-employment and continuous-assessment screening programmes to create a safe work environment.