Workplace Issues

Asia-Pacific Workers Concerned About Ethics

Survey indicates that fraud prevention impacts recruitment, talent retention and business continuity in the Asia-Pacific region.
Katie Kuehner-HebertJune 22, 2015

Employers seeking to attract and retain talent in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region should make sure they promote ethical business practices, according to a new survey from EY.

Nearly 80% of the 1,508 employees from large employers in 14 APAC territories responding to EY’s APAC Fraud Survey 2015 said they would be unwilling to work for companies involved in bribery and corruption. Only 5% said it would make no difference to their willingness to work for an employer if it was found to have been involved in bribery and corruption.

Chris Fordham, APAC managing partner of EY Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, said the survey shows that fraud prevention is no longer just a legal and compliance issue but impacts recruitment, talent retention and business continuity.

“In APAC, where the labor market is highly competitive and it is already difficult to recruit and retain staff, the findings should be a wake-up call to businesses,” Fordham said. “It is essential that companies comprehensively address this via strong ethical leadership and a cohesive fraud prevention framework, with up-to-date and well-enforced internal controls, policies and procedures.”

The survey also found that more organizations have established codes of conduct since EY last conducted this survey in 2013 (23 percentage-point increase), more are training (20 percentage-point increase), more are adopting anti-bribery/anti-corruption policies (16 percentage-point increase) and implementing whistleblowing hotlines (2 percentage-point increase).

“While these policies are a step in the right direction, they are, however, not as effective as they should be,” EY wrote.

Slightly more than half of the respondents (52%) believe APAC policies are irrelevant and ineffective, with 40% of companies not providing ABAC policy training and 41% of respondents believing a code of conduct has little impact on how people actually behave. More than a quarter of respondents (27%) said their colleagues are aware of but do not report fraudulent activities in their place of employment.

“It is clear that ABAC policies, codes of conduct and whistleblowing hotlines are not enough,” Fordham said. “Companies need to demonstrate and communicate about ethical behavior if they want to affect true change.”