One in Four UK Jobseekers Lie on their CV


Have you ever felt the temptation to lie on your CV? Well, at Job Today we are well aware of the impulse and were intrigued as to how many people acted upon it. As a result, we undertook a nationwide study to find out how truthful our jobseekers really are – and the results are startling.

According to data unearthed by our survey of 1,000 Britons across the UK, almost one in four jobseekers (38%) have lied on their CV at least once, with almost a quarter of all those questioned (24%) admitting to doing it on a regular basis. Though the inclination to exaggerate and tell white lies appears to be universal, the number of those who succumb to the temptation varies greatly depending on location, gender and income.

The Fairer Sex

Our survey showed that women are apparently the fairer sex in both senses of the word. While 42% of men admitted to telling fibs on their CV at one time or another, only 34% of women owned up to doing the same.

Among the female population, the fear of being caught in a falsehood was the biggest deterrent against doing so, while only 22% of men said they were worried about being found out. Meanwhile, only 5% of women said they had lied on their CV when applying for their very first job, which was almost half of the percentage of men who had done so (8%).

Fear of the competition appears to be a bigger factor for deception among women than it is among men, with 36% of females intimidated by their rivals. By contrast, only 27% of men indicated the competition as the overriding factor in the decision to lie.

Liars Flock South

It could be that this fear of competition exacerbated the dishonesty where positions are more in demand. As the employment capital of the UK, London is one of the most competitive places to seek a job across the British Isles. Perhaps as a result of this, it appears to have become a hotbed of duplicitousness – 44% of those surveyed here admitted to deceiving prospective employers, higher than anywhere else in the UK.

Among the rest of England, only the West Midlands (40%) and Yorkshire and Humber (42%) boasted one in four liars – everywhere else admitted to deception between 32% and 39% of the time.

Meanwhile, north of the border appears to be one of the last remaining vestiges of integrity. Of all the jobseekers asked in Scotland, 74% claimed to have never told an untruth on their CV at all.

Higher Incomes Engender Higher Insincerity

As the stakes are raised, it appears that so is the inclination to lie. 44% of those in the top wage bracket felt that fear of losing out to a rival was the biggest motivating factor behind bending the truth. By contrast, over two-thirds (68%) of those bringing in less than £10,000 a year said they had never lied on their CV, highlighting the fact that honesty appears to be more prevalent among the lower earners.

Interestingly, 39% of high earners indicated that they did not feel their expertise and experience was enough to convince their potential boss on its own and admitted to exaggerating their extra-curricular activities to compensate.

Rooting Out Deception with Job Today

The transition from paper CVs to online application forms and profiles has made bending the truth easier than ever for jobseekers. At Job Today, we’re committed to not only providing the latest and most insightful information on the job market through studies such as these, but also combating dishonesty in the market. Our free and easy-to-use app facilitates communication between employers and candidates, allowing you to weed out those who play hard and fast with the truth more easily and efficiently.

“It’s a sea of lies out there! Recruiting staff based only on what’s written on a piece of paper is never a good idea,” says Polina Montano, COO of the company. “There is much more to every candidate than can be reflected on a CV. By using a hiring app, jobseekers are able to connect with employers directly and in a more personal way, giving both sides the opportunity to learn more about each other.”