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Number of lying jobseekers increases by 12% since 2008

Almost one in five jobseekers is lying to their employers, marking a rise of 12% since 2008, research reveals.

According to the Powerchex Annual Pre-employment Screening survey of 4,735 jobseekers in the financial sector, 19% lie to recruiters, and those under 21 lie 30% more than they did in 2008.

The research shows those under-21s lied most about academic grades, in particular, changing 2:2 degrees into 2:1s.

The second most common lie was about their employment duties and title, usually overstating what they actually did for the company. They quite often exaggerated menial jobs such as sorting post to make them sound more important.

The third most common discrepancy involved lying about their reason for leaving: for example, those who were dismissed claimed they were only on a temporary contract.

Alexandra Kelly, managing director of Powerchex, said: "This is the second year in a row there has been an increase in the number of candidates lying to recruiters. The pressure of the recession job market seems to have led more applicants to believe they should lie or make embellished claims to get jobs."

And David Willetts, shadow minister for universities and skills, added: "Young people are the biggest victims of the recession. The employment rate of graduates was falling even before the recession took hold. We now have record levels of young people not in education, employment or training. Ministers are letting our young people down. Youth unemployment can scar individuals for life."