Background Screening in Asia-Pacific and India
APAC is a diverse and highly populated region, making up around three-fifths of the global population, including the two largest countries by population, China and India. Ko Hui Yen, Managing Director of APAC and India, shares her insights on talent acquisition and hiring in the region.
Asia-Pacific (APAC) is a diverse and highly populated region, making up around three-fifths of the global population, including the two largest countries by population, China and India. Despite the region’s thriving economy, background screening is still an emerging practice in many APAC markets, especially outside of regulated industries such as financial services, and many businesses are just starting to build out employment screening programs to help mitigate their business risk. In contrast, background screening in India is a more mature market, with more employers seeing the value and benefits of verifying their candidates’ information and credentials pre-hire.
In HireRight’s 2023 Global Benchmark Survey, conducted between February 15 and March 12, 2023, we gathered responses from over 2,000 human resource, risk, and talent acquisition professionals worldwide, with 226 respondents from the APAC region – including 148 responses from India. Using this data, in this article we compare the survey findings from India with those from the rest of APAC to reveal some of the main differences between their background screening practices.
The Benefits of Background Screening
Survey respondents from India are more likely to attribute a better quality of hires to their pre-employment screening program than those in the rest of the APAC region. While over three-quarters (77%) of respondents from the rest of APAC said that pre-employment screening helps improve the quality of their hires – a rate higher than the 66% reported in North America and 49% in EMEA – even more respondents from India (85%) said this was a key benefit. Additionally, Indian businesses are more likely to cite improved regulatory compliance (55% vs. 46% in the rest of APAC) and a better company reputation (47% vs. 31% in the rest of APAC) as benefits of their pre-employment screening program. Throughout the APAC region, each of these top three benefits saw a year-on-year increase, showing that more employers conducting pre-employment background checks are experiencing these benefits due to their company screening program in 2023.
Choosing a Screening Provider
Speed matters for most APAC businesses – as was the case for most North American and EMEA businesses – however, slightly more respondents from India cited this as a top consideration when choosing a screening provider than those in the rest of the APAC region. While over half (53%) of survey respondents from India said that accuracy of results is a key factor when choosing a background screening company to work with, worryingly, just three in 10 (31%) respondents from the rest of APAC said the same. However, respondents from the rest of APAC are more concerned with cost than those in India – almost three-fifths (58%) cited cost as a priority, compared with 47% of respondents from India. With the global macro-economic climate impacting employers throughout the APAC region, it seems more businesses could face pressure to reduce their recruitment budgets in 2023 while still needing to onboard new talent as quickly as possible. However, this could come at the expense of not completing a thorough screening of their candidates. Employers that are not prioritizing accuracy in their screening provider choice may be focussing on their other business needs, however, this strategy could potentially expose their organizations to more hiring risk.
Most Common Pre-Employment Checks
Education checks are now the most common pre-employment check conducted by employers throughout APAC, according to our APAC survey respondents. This year’s data shows that even more employers in the region are utilizing education checks than in previous years, growing from 64% of APAC employers in our 2021 survey to 76% in 2022, and to 87% this year – 91% in India and 71% in the rest of APAC. In comparison, the adoption of education checks has remained relatively stable in EMEA (71%) and North America (54%). Employment verifications and criminal record checks are the next most common checks in the APAC region and are conducted by most respondents. Almost nine in 10 (89%) respondents from India and three-quarters (75%) of respondents from the rest of APAC conduct employment verifications and nearly four-fifths (78%) of India respondents and two-thirds (67%) of respondents from the rest of APAC conduct criminal record checks.
More than four-fifths (82%) of survey respondents from India said they are familiar with or involved in background screening in their company, compared with around two-thirds (64%) of respondents from the rest of APAC. This, combined with the differences highlighted above, suggests that not only is pre-employment screening more widely conducted among businesses in India, but also that Indian companies are more likely to conduct each of the most common checks than their peers in the rest of the APAC region.
Perhaps because of the increased adoption of pre-employment screening in India compared with the wider APAC region, it might not be surprising that more Indian employers reported finding discrepancies.
The vast majority (86%) of respondents in India said that they commonly uncover employment discrepancies, compared with 48% in the rest of APAC. In other regions, two-thirds (67%) of EMEA respondents and a third (32%) of North America respondents said they routinely find employment discrepancies during candidate background screenings. According to our survey respondents, education discrepancies were the second most common in APAC as a whole – but were also more often found by employers in India. Over two-fifths (43%) of Indian respondents said this was a common area for discrepancies compared with a quarter (24%) in the rest of APAC. These kinds of candidate discrepancies were also the second most common in EMEA (38%), and third most common in North America (21%), where education checks are less widely conducted than in EMEA and APAC. For more insights into how the responses from the APAC region compare with those in North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), you can download HireRight’s 2023 Global Benchmark Report here.
Additionally, you can find out more by downloading HireRight’s Behind the Screens: Guide to Background Screening in Asia Pacific.
Release Date: July 5, 2023
Ko Hui Yen
Ko Hui Yen is HireRight’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Asia Pacific, responsible for plotting HireRight’s strategic growth across the region. Prior to joining HireRight in January 2019, Hui Yen served in multiple senior leadership roles at organisations including ESI International, where she successfully established new offices and sales teams in China. She was also Managing Director at professional training & coaching firm momenta Group. Most recently, Hui Yen co-founded Kaleidoskope, a consulting and training firm that boasted clients including global MNCs and government agencies. Hui Yen received her bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.