Business Advice: Background screening

Is background screening in the UK different to the rest of the EMEA region? Peter Cleverton explains. 

The UK has one of the most mature pre-employment background screening markets in EMEA – in part due to screening regulations in certain industries, such as financial services, requiring new hires to have their backgrounds verified pre-hire and, in certain regulated roles, existing employees must be rescreened periodically. But how different is background screening in the UK to the rest of the EMEA region?

HireRight’s 16th Annual Benchmark Survey gathered responses from over 2,000 human resource, risk and talent acquisition professionals worldwide. This is the findings from the 281 respondents from the EMEA region.

Improving regulatory compliance

UK businesses are much more likely to attribute improved regulatory compliance and more consistent safety and security to their pre-employment screening programme than companies from the rest of EMEA.

Over three-quarters (77%) of survey respondents from the UK cited improved regulatory compliance as a benefit of pre-employment screening, compared with half (49%) of respondents from the rest of EMEA that said the same. Three-fifths (62%) of UK respondents benefited from more consistent safety and security, compared with around two-fifths (43%) of respondents from the rest of EMEA.

Two-fifths (38%) of respondents from the UK and the rest of EMEA (40%) said they felt that pre-employment screening helped their company to improve its reputation – perhaps by discouraging underqualified candidates from applying, or by discovering discrepancies during background checks before job offers are made.

More speed, less accuracy?

Accuracy of results and speed appear to be more important in the UK than the rest of EMEA when choosing a background screening provider.

In the UK, almost three-quarters (72%) of respondents said that speed was one of the most important factors to consider when evaluating screening services being offered by prospective providers. In contrast, just three-fifths (60%) of respondents from the rest of EMEA said speed was important – although it still ranked as the most common consideration in the region.

Accuracy of results and speed appear to be more important in the UK than the rest of EMEA

Has the changing employment landscape in the region led to more companies prioritising a fast approach to screening rather than a more precise one? If so, this could mean that businesses throughout EMEA may be taking on more employment risk to secure talent quicker.

Who’s checking what?

Businesses from the UK are more likely to conduct employment, criminal, and identity checks, but education checks are slightly more common in the rest of EMEA.

Almost all (94%) respondents from the UK said they verify their candidates’ employment histories as part of their company’s screening programme. Additionally, almost three-quarters (73%) of UK respondents said that employment verifications were one of the areas they had uncovered candidate discrepancies during the screening process. In the rest of EMEA, 87% of respondents conduct employment checks and 63% have found discrepancies while running these checks.

Education checks are conducted by almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents from the rest of EMEA, compared with 68% in the UK. Discrepancies in education checks were found by over a third of respondents in the UK (36%) and the rest of EMEA (39%).

Peter Cleverton is managing director of EMEA, HireRight.

Download HireRight’s 2023 Global Benchmark Report from

Image Credit | Tashia Peterman

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