The main industry in the capital city of Australia, Canberra, is, as you’d expect, the public administration. This accounts for 27% of the ACT gross domestic product (GDP). However, over 40% of the employees in Canberra work in healthcare, education and professional services, while another roughly 13% are in the fields of hospitality and retail.
For the public administration, strict pre-employment screening is the norm, but the same trend can be observed among private businesses as well. Why is that?
Screening checks are the key to a safe workplace
Businesses are required by law to provide a safe and secure work environment for all employees. This is not something new, but over the past few years the public opinion has grown increasingly concerned about safety in the workplace. Issues such as sexual harassment and racial or ethnic discrimination are hotly and quite openly debated in the press and, most importantly, on social media. Businesses can ill-afford to ignore the public opinion which is why they’ve stepped up their pre-employment screening checks. Employers want to make sure that any new hire won’t prove a threat to the rest of their staff.
A simple background check can reveal if a job applicant was ever convicted of a sexual offence, for instance. Also, checking the candidates’ social media accounts is an efficient way of assessing a person’s views on many topics. If a certain person is revealed as having homophobic or racist views, Human Resources managers will think twice before hiring them.
Modern technology makes background checks easily available
Another reason many businesses in Canberra have introduced a mandatory ACT police check as part of their pre-employment screening is that today these are readily available, not to mention very affordable.
In the past, many employers preferred to skip criminal history checks not because they thought they were irrelevant. Most HR managers were well-aware of the benefits of using national police checks, but the procedure was quite cumbersome and it took many weeks.
Thanks to modern technology, employers can now order a police background check using the services of an online screening provider. The process is generally fast. It takes a few minutes to upload the required information on the online platform and you get the results in a few business days, delivered via email.
Monetary benefits of pre-employment screening checks
If an employer makes sure a new hire will fit perfectly in the organisation and is not likely to cause any troubles, they stand to make more profit.
Let’s put it this way. If you hire someone who turns out to be unfit for a job, you’ll have to fire them sooner rather than later. It’s not just sexual offenders. A driver with a history of alcohol-related offences that you didn’t know about is a huge liability. But, if you do a pre-employment screening check, you’ll find all those offences on their criminal record, and probably won’t hire a drunk in the first place,
When you have no option but to let such an employee go, you need to restart the hiring process, with all the expenses it incurs. Also, you’ll have to invest in training the new employee, not to mention the loss in productivity while the position is vacant.
Why risk all that when background checks are just a few clicks away?
Economic indicators for the ACT –
Australian Bureau of Statistics –