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Companies, this is why your employees are stealing from you

Work theft is pervasive and expensive. Here’s why people say they do it.

Companies, this is why your employees are stealing from you
[Photo: Tim Gouw/Unsplash]
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We are a nation of sticky-fingered workers. A new survey of 1,000 employees and managers shows that 68% of workers have stolen from work, and one-fifth of workers think it’s okay to steal for the following reasons:

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  • Company won’t notice anything missing (24%)
  • Not paid enough (21%)
  • Can’t afford to buy the item (17%)
  • Boss is rude (13%)

Yes, workers are stealing because they feel underpaid and mistreated.

Employers should expect to stock employees’ homes with office supplies: 4 in 10 employees have stolen pens or pencils, and a quarter have taken paper clips and sticky notes. Office theft has been on the rise nationally, accounting for roughly 20% of supplies.

The most common items stolen from work are: pens, pencils, paper clips, sticky notes, paper, notepads, and highlighters, which are commonly taken from large companies. But 11-14% have stolen food, coffee, and soda, mostly from smaller companies. Only 5% have stolen more expensive items such as tech accessories.

Eighty percent of managers said that stealing is an automatic fireable offense at their company. The survey was commissioned by job-seeker resource TheInterviewGuys.com, who presumably don’t want you to get canned for pilfering.