PBSA and HR.com Release 2020 Background Screening Industry Survey

Background Screening News

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In June 2020, the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) and HR.com released the 4th annual industry survey entitled “Background Screening: Trends and Uses in Today’s Global Economy.” The PBSA commissioned HR.com to conduct the survey that revealed emerging trends in who is being screened and how often, what elements go into a background check, and the increasing value of international screening.

The findings of the 2020 survey from the PBSA and HR.com showed that 94 percent of employers conducted at least one type of background screening, while 73 percent of employers had a documented screening policy. The survey also found that 85 percent of employers said access to international screening capabilities was important, with 57 percent of them saying international screening was important to their organization directly.

Survey results indicated that the reasons for conducting background checks were largely the same as previous years and included protecting the safety of employees and customers (83 percent), improving the quality of hires (51 percent), and mandated by law/regulations (40 percent). Survey respondents also cited protecting company reputation and preventing or reducing theft and embezzlement as motivation for background checks.

Employers were also screening more types of employees. Ninety percent of employers said they screened all full-time employees in 2020, compared to 86 percent in 2019. The survey also saw considerable increases in the number of organizations screening other types of “individuals who are not traditional full-time employees,” including part-time employees, contingent/temporary workers, volunteers, and vendor representatives.

Two-thirds of employers (66 percent) waited until after a conditional job offer to conduct a background check, but organizations are screening more often outside the hiring process as 49 percent of employers stated they conducted background checks only during the hiring process, down 10 percentage points from 2019. Also, 12 percent were conducting background checks annually or more frequently, compared to 9 percent in 2019.

As for what elements go into a background check, nearly all employers included national criminal database (93 percent) and statewide/county/regional/local source (85 percent) searches for all or some candidates in their criminal background screening. Employers were also including more elements of non-criminal records checks such as employment verification, social media searches, credit reports, and professional license verification.

The survey found that 85 percent of employers said access to international screening capabilities was important, with 57 percent saying international screening was important to their organization directly. Furthermore, 24 percent said their organization conducted criminal background checks for candidates both within and outside the United States. The background screening industry survey from the PBSA and HR.com is available here.

For a complete overview of the 2020 Industry Survey results and emerging trends, PBSA Chair Bon Idziak and PBSA Executive Director Melissa Sorenson will co-present a webinar entitled “How Background Screening is Changing: Analyzing Employer Trends in Background Screening Use” from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. To register for this free webinar that is open to PBSA members and the public, click here.

Founded as a non-profit trade association in 2003, the PBSA was established to represent the interest of companies offering employment and tenant background screening services. PBSA currently represents nearly 900 member companies engaged in employment and tenant background screening around the world. PBSA is the trusted global authority for the screening profession. To learn more about the PBSA, visit www.thepbsa.org.

Powered by HR.com, the world’s largest community of Human Resources professionals, the HR Research Institute benchmarks best practices and tracks trends in human resources to help more than 1.75 million HR professionals. Over the past few years, the HR Research Institute has produced over 85 leading-edge primary research and state of the industry research reports. To learn more about HR.com, visit www.hr.com.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) a leading global provider of background checks headquartered in Northern California – is accredited by the PBSA, undergoes annual SSAE 18 SOC 2 Type 2 audits, adheres to the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, and was recognized as one of the top pre-employment screening services by HRO Today Magazine in 2018 and 2019. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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