Employee Theft Stats: The Last 5 Year

In our Spring 2006 issue (Vol. 21, No. 2) we ran an article  somewhat similar to this one discussing the trend of employee apprehensions over the past five years (2000 thru 2004).  I thought it was time we updated you on these statistics, since we regularly receive inquiries regarding employee theft trends. Therefore, this article will cover employee theft apprehensions and recovery dollars for the past 5 years (2005 thru 2009).

The statistics shown below are from Jack L. Hayes International’s Annual Retail Theft Survey (18th thru 22nd).

Employee Apprehensions:

Year # Apprehs % + / -*
2005 68,994 +11.49%
2006 66,507 + 6.57%
2007 82,648 +17.57%
2008 72,120 + 3.01%
2009 70,409 - 9.35%
(*: Note: Survey participants change slightly from year to year, so “% +/-” is based on common participants for that year who also supplied statistics for the previous year.)

After five (5) years of consecutive increases from 2004 to 2008 (of which 3 years the percent increase was in the ‘double digits’), dishonest employee theft apprehensions decreased in 2009.

Employee Recovery Dollars:

Year Recovery % + / -*
2005 $49.96 mill +17.87%
2006 $56.63 mill +16.44%
2007 $66.79 mill +12.35%
2008 $69.89 mill + 9.90%
2009 $51.32 mill - 15.71%
(*: Note: Survey participants change slightly from year to year, so “% +/-” is based on common participants for that year who also supplied statistics for the previous year.)

As with the dishonest employee apprehensions above, after five (5) years of consecutive increases from 2004 to 2008 (with 4 years showing ‘double digits’ percent increases), recovery dollars from the dishonest employee apprehensions decreased in 2009.

On a per company basis, 1 out of every ‘x’ employees is apprehended for theft from their employer:

Year Employees Apprehended
2005 1 out of 26.5
2006 1 out of 27.9
2007 1 out of 28.2
2008 1 out of 30.0
2009 1 out of 28.0

It should be noted these statistics are based on an average data base of between 1.8 and 2.9 million employees every year. So the data base should be considered an acceptable sampling. It is also interesting to note that the average case value (shown by year below) has ranged from $724 to $969 during the past five years. The high dollar average case value reflects that these surveyed retailers are not apprehending employees stealing paper & pencils, stamps & envelopes, and/or cookies & candy. These are serious dishonest employee theft cases which are having a detrimental impact on these retailers’ bottom-line profits.

Average Dishonest Employee Case Value:

Year Avg. Case % + / -*
2005 $724.15 +11.49%
2006 $851.44 + 9.26%
2007 $808.09 – 4.41%
2008 $969.14 + 6.70%
2009 $728.90 – 7.01%
(*: Note: Survey participants change slightly from year to year, so “% +/-” is based on common participants for that year who also supplied statistics for the previous year.)

When comparing the average case value per dishonest employee, to that of a shoplifter, dishonest employees on average, over the past 5 years, stole 6.4 times the amount stolen by shoplifters (on a per case basis).

So, what is fueling these numbers?

Why were dishonest employee apprehensions and recovery dollars down in 2009 after 5 years of consecutive increases?

Are there more or less dishonest employees in the work force?

Are retailers getting better at identifying and apprehending these thieves?

To find out the answers to these and other questions on employee theft, watch for future articles in upcoming issues of this newsletter.

(Editor’s Note: If you have any questions concerning the above statistics, send us note with your questions and we’ll try to answer them in a future issue of The Hayes Report newsletter.)  $

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