Graduate CV fraud on the rise

by Stephanie Zillman25 Jun 2012

A combination of rising university fees and difficult jobs markets in some graduate employment sectors means false education claims are likely to increase.

The opinions of more than 1,300 students and graduates were canvassed by careers advice provider Graduate Prospects and the results were alarming. Some 43% said rises in tuition fees would make graduates more likely to inflate their credentials on CVs. Only a third of those surveyed disagreed outright that they would lie. Two-thirds (68%) reported that buying a fake degree was becoming an attractive option while less than a quarter disagreed.

Other key statistics included:

  • Two-thirds of students and graduates recognised that it is illegal to give misinformation on CVs, but a third knew someone who either lied or exaggerated their qualifications on their CV.
  • The top four things graduates are most likely to falsify related to:

    1. Grades – 47% cite a higher grade than they actually achieved

    2. Course completion – 29% say they completed a course when they only finished part of it

    3. Subject – 13% give a different course subject to suit a job's requirements

    4. Qualification – 11% say they have a degree when they don't

The reason such high proportions of students and graduates are bold enough to falsify aspects of their CV may come down to knowing that many employers simply do not have the time and resources to verify the details. “We found that half of students and graduates expect employers to check qualifications, but the reality is quite different. We found that the vast majority of small businesses, and only a fifth of large companies, verify qualifications,” Mike Hill from Graduate Prospects said.

One statistic which is likely to add impetus to checking qualifications is that in cases where employers are known for checking CV details, 89% of students and graduates said they would be less likely to lie.


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