The average American worker spends about as much time stealing from their employer as they do working.
Employees in the U.S. steal from their employers at significantly higher rates than workers in other countries, according to The Global Retail Theft Barometer released this month by Checkpoint Systems. While in most countries shoplifting makes up the bulk of shrinkage, in the U.S. the bulk of shrinkage is due to employees stealing from their employers.
In layman’s terms, shrinkage is the difference between the revenue businesses should have received and the revenue they did receive, and the difference is due in large part to losses from shoplifting, employee theft and vendor/supplier fraud. Indeed, employee theft is responsible for 45% (up from 43% last year) of shrinkage in the U.S. (vs. 36% from shoplifting). Globally, it’s just 39% from employee theft (vs. 38% from shoplifting).
Now, you’re probably thinking “employee theft” is shoplifting or taking paper clips or jamming extra sugar packets from the break room into your shorts. In this case, theft includes all the discounts given to shoppers “just because.”
While experts at The Global Retail Theft Barometer say it’s not clear why employee theft is so high in the U.S. — at least compared with other countries — they do have information on how these workers steal from their employers. Most of it happens during checkout/the point of sale “when an associate purposely manipulates a transaction for the benefit of themselves or someone else,” says Ernie Deyle, the study co-author and an industry consultant, who also serves as lead for Crisis Management, Safety & Enterprise Resiliency at Sears Holding Company. For example, workers may issue refunds, discounts or voids at the register when they shouldn’t, or cancel transactions, modify prices or say someone used a coupon when they didn’t.
And that all adds up: Employee theft cost U.S. retailers $16.6 billion in the past year– that’s $3 billion more than shoplifting cost them and about $10 billion more than vendor and supplier fraud and administrative and non-crime losses cost them combined. Some of the reasons that employees steal include ineffective pre-employment screening, less employee supervision and easy sale of stolen merchandise, the report reveals.
And suddenly the entire world became one big self-serve checkout.
I always thought the most valuable commodity was time. I hope they never calculate how much time we’re stealing from employers because the number would just to the trillions.
[via Market Watch]