The perception among UK respondents is that little progress has been made over the past couple of years as companies struggle to maintain ethical standards.
UK businesses are failing to tackle a culture of corruption and unethical behavior, according to new research.
A survey by EY found that 25% of UK employees believe bribery and corruption to be widespread in UK companies, while 54% said they would not report unethical behavior for fear of endangering their careers.
A third of respondents said they would not do so over concerns for their personal safety.
The biennial survey takes in views of 4,100 employees from large businesses across 41 countries from Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), including 100 respondents from the UK.
The perception among UK respondents is that little progress has been made over the past couple of years as companies struggle to maintain ethical standards, although the findings compare favorably to some other countries: 51% of all respondents reported that bribery and corruption are endemic in their country, compared to 25% in the UK.
Some 42% of UK respondents believe that their senior management would act unethically to help a business survive, compared to 58% in EMEIA, but just 29% of UK respondents felt that action has been taken by their company against an employee for breaching ethical standards, relative to 43% elsewhere.
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Jonathan Middup, partner in EY’s fraud investigation and dispute services, said:
“Bribery and corruption is still perceived to be prevalent in the UK, despite increased focus and scrutiny from the Government and regulators.
“The picture we are seeing from the survey and in our conversations with clients is that while many companies may think they have an effective compliance framework in place, in reality some are struggling to create a culture where it is in employees’ interests to do the right thing.”
UK respondents also voiced concerns over intrusive monitoring technologies used by companies to reduce fraud and corruption. Only 7% said that they felt their company should monitor their instant messenger accounts, while 2% felt it should monitor their social media profiles, the lowest of all countries surveyed.