Employees admit they would steal data when leaving a job

Employees openly admit they would take company data, including customer data and product plans, when leaving a job, according to Harris Interactive. The online survey probed 1,594 full- and part-time employees and contractors in the United States and Great Britain about their attitudes toward accessing and viewing of company-owned data.

In response to the survey:

  • 49% of US workers and 52% of British workers admitted they would take some form of company property with them when leaving a position
  • 29% (US) and 23% (UK) would take customer data, including contact information
  • 23% (US) and 22% (UK) would take electronic files
  • 15% (US) and 17% (UK) would take product information, including designs and plans
  • 13% (US) and 22% (UK) would take small office supplies.

Interestingly, employees don’t perceive the recent recession as greatly influencing propensity to steal: 45% of the US and 48% of the UK respondents felt that a coworker’s tendency to steal from an employer has not been influenced by the recession.

The survey also asked workers what they would do if they were inadvertently granted access to a confidential file (such as one containing salary information, personal data, or plans for a pending merger). 45% of US and 57% of UK respondents said they would look at the file, while 36% (US) and 27% (UK) said they would not look but would alert a manager to the mistake.

Very few workers (1% in the UK and less than 0.5% in the US) stated that they would attempt to sell confidential data found in improperly secured files, although 2% (US) and 3% (UK) said they would look and tell others about the information they saw.

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