A fifth of City workers 'would fiddle their expenses'

Looks like City workers are taking their cues from Westminster: 21% have admitted they'd fiddle their expenses if they could get away with it.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 15 Feb 2012
Set your outrage dial to ‘nauseated’: those dastardly City workers are up to their old tricks again. Or perhaps they’re just taking their cues from their Westminster overlords, who have, after all, taken more than a passing interest in their remunerative activities of late. A survey by consultancy Project Brokers has found that 21% of people working in the City would fiddle their expenses if they thought they could get away with it, and would be even more likely to do it if they were struggling to pay their bills at the end of the month. We know. The cads.

Apparently, 44% of workers in top City jobs and 41% in the financial sector reckon they’d look the other way if they saw their boss being ‘frivolous’ with the company credit card. Although ‘frivolous’ does have rather a wide meaning: do they mean ‘extra bottle of bubbly’ frivolous, or ‘duck island and moat cleaning’ frivolous? We’re rather impressed, though, that only 20% would exceed their budget without permission if it would mean it increased their chances of winning business: depending on the size of the contract, presumably their company wouldn’t mind too much…

Too much time among the temptations of the financial sector seems to have skewed people’s sense of morality: while 70% said the most serious offences to commit at work are theft of company property and IP, using drugs was seen as only ‘moderately’ serious, while expenses fiddling was thought of as ‘not very serious’. And only 1% saw having an office affair as ‘moderately serious’. It depends how (and where) you conduct it, we suppose.

Jokes aside, though, the survey only spoke to 100-odd people – so it’s hardly fair to start throwing accusations about widespread abuse of expenses around. And, given all the job- and salary-cuts going on in the City at the moment, expenses may be all they have…

More seriously, though, the survey also found that a quarter of those surveyed (oh all right: 25 people) hadn’t heard of the Bribery Act, while 22% of those who had reckoned it didn’t affect them. Which is a bit more of a worry for businesses still trying to get to grips with the new regulation. Particularly when the behaviour of those in the City is being so closely scrutinised by those pillars of morality in Westminster…

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