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Some 22% would act unethically to improve career prospects, study finds

about 24 hours ago

Peter Hamilton

56 per cent of Irish employees suggested that their concerns relating to fraud or corruption led them to consider resigning. (Photograph: iStock)




Ireland’s culture towards corporate fraud and corruption isn’t improving, a survey conducted by professional services firm EY has found.

Some 47 per cent of the Irish employees interviewed believe bribery and corrupt practices were widespread, while 22 per cent said they would be prepared to act unethically to improve their career progression or remuneration package.

The research interviewed respondents across a variety of sectors including financial services, the public sector, technology and transport. The study was conducted across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The Irish figures are significantly higher than the western European average, where 33 per cent of respondents see bribery and corruption as widespread.

The survey, for which 4,100 people were interviewed (100 of whom were in Ireland), found that “a significant proportion…continue to justify unethical behaviour to help a business survive”, according to Jim McCurry, fraud investigation and dispute services leader for EY.

“Companies need to actively start fostering a culture whereby employees feel encouraged to come forward to report misconduct and that they will be protected if they do,” said Julie Fenton, head of EY’s fraud investigation and dispute services in Ireland.

In addition, the report found that employees were not open to introducing policies that would help to detect fraud, with a majority of those surveyed saying that monitoring of social media profiles, phone calls and emails would be a violation of their privacy.

A significant proportion of Irish employees suggested that their concerns relating to fraud or corruption led them to consider resigning. However, some 56 per cent of respondents who considered leaving a company ultimately stayed.

That figure was 19 per cent higher than the average across all the regions surveyed.

Future career progression was cited as the main reason for not reporting fraudulent practices while fear for personal safety followed.

“It is a business imperative that organisations put in place programmes and training to make their employees aware of the implications of their actions during such times of pressure, and that they understand the consequences of behaving unethically – both for the company and for them personally,” Ms Fenton added.