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More from the silly season

The public’s perceptions of financial crime are far less negative than its perceptions of crime involving physical violence. Photo: Shutterstock

The public’s perceptions of financial crime are far less negative than its perceptions of crime involving physical violence. Photo: Shutterstock

My first topic this week is about two of the experiences we have had at Misco in our recruitment consultancy. All too often we hear about the lack of interpersonal skills in our workforce. Yet it is important to note that according to marketing research that we have conducted, there are more employers who complain about the lack of qualifications than there are employers who are concerned about a lack of interpersonal skills.

My fear is that employers may  underestimate the importance of interpersonal skills at the workplace.

The first experience is a candidate who was asked to come to our offices to sign one’s employment contract. We had been asked to handle the whole on-boarding process by a client. So instead of the candidate going to the client’s offices to sign the contract, the person was asked to come to do so at our offices. When the candidate was given the contract to sign, the candidate asked whether one should sign one’s own name. We wondered whose other signature the candidate could provide us with.

The second experience is that of when a candidate had been asked to come for an interview and the person was half an hour late. The Misco recruitment consultant expressed concern with the candidate as to whether something was wrong; whether one had had an accident. The candidate then promptly replied whether there was anything wrong in being half an hour late.

Financial crime can destabilise a country’s economy

I wonder if these two persons represent the general views of the so-called millennials. If they do, one gets the shivers thinking of what lies in store for us all.

My second topic is about financial crime. I recently saw an advert which carried the legend: “Financial crime – What is everyone doing about it?”

I found the advert thought-provoking and it should make us all wonder how we do actually react to financial crime.

Research has shown that the public’s perceptions of financial crime are far less negative than its perceptions of crime involving physical violence. It provoked far less negative feelings. The sight of blood is seen to be much more harmful than crime involving thousands of euros.

Before anyone goes off on a tangent, let me explain the point I am trying to make. Financial crime and crime involving physical violence are very wrong. I may even go as far to put them on the same scale. What worries me is that financial crime does not shock us as much as physical violence does.

Financial crime can consist of various types, but in general, falls into two categories. First there are those crimes that involve activities which generate wealth dishonestly for those that perpetuate them. One example is tax evasion or committing a fraudulent act at the expense of another person, or business or the state. The end result of this is that someone would gain a material benefit, but illegally.

The second type is when a person tries to protect a benefit that has already been obtained. One typical example of this is money laundering that would allow a person to protect the monetary proceeds obtained from criminal acts.

There is not yet the understanding that such acts impact negatively each and every one of us. This happens mainly because we do not see any tangible evidence of such crimes. Financial crime can destabilise a country’s economy and this an issue that needs to be recognised.

Both topics I have touched upon may be indicative of the type of society we live in today. I have no doubt in my mind that such behaviours are unacceptable and should find no place in a society that prides itself in excellence and believes in the principles of law and order.

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