Career progression takes precedence over ethical behaviour in corporate India: EY report

Mumbai, 10 April 2017

  • Share
  • 41% of Indian respondents would be prepared to act unethically to enhance their own career
  • 13% are prepared to provide false information to improve their career or pay
  • 58% stated that loyalty toward company prevents employees from reporting fraud, bribery or corruption

India, Mumbai, 6 April 2017: Uncertainties in the business environment, augmenting pressure to meet financial targets and aspirations to achieve unprecedented career growth are driving employees to justify unethical workplace behaviour, states EY’s Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA) Fraud Survey. The India findings of the survey titled Human instinct or machine logic – which do you trust most in the fight against fraud and corruption? highlighted that 41% of Indian respondents would be prepared to act unethically to enhance their own career progression or remuneration package. Globally, 1 in 5 respondents said they would be prepared to act unethically for their careers. 44% of the Indian respondents admitted that they would be unlikely to report fraud, bribery and corruption concerns if it could hamper their future career development within the company and 32% considered it acceptable to offer cash payments to win or retain business.

Arpinder Singh, Partner and National Leader, Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services, EY India said, “The perception of fraud and corruption in corporate India has seen a marginal but positive shift, led by amplified regulatory scrutiny and emphasis on transparency and governance. However, unethical behaviour at the workplace, including Gen Y has become a serious cause of concern. While improved enforcement action has restored confidence in businesses, organizations should encourage millennials to strengthen their moral compass, communicate the importance of upholding ethical standards and develop programs to motivate our future leaders make right choices in life.”

The survey is conducted by EY’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services and evaluates the current state of fraud, bribery and corruption in the EMEIA region. The key India findings include:

Greater enforcement but bribery and corruption is still an ongoing challenge

  • 79% of Indian respondents said that prosecuting individuals would help deter fraud, bribery and corruption  
  • 78% said that bribery and corruption is widespread, compared to 51% globally
  • 52% said that regulatory activity has had a positive impact within the company and industry  

Individual work ethics ranks low

  • 30% of Indian respondents are willing to book revenues earlier than they should be in order to meet financial targets
  • 16% would deliberately misstate their company’s financial performance to meet financial targets
  • Globally, 1 in 4 Gen Y could justify offering cash payments to win or retain business as compared to 1 in 3 board directors and senior managers

Uncovering insider threats through employee behaviour

  • Monitoring data sources could help organizations curb risk of fraud, bribery and corruption – 65% believed organizations should monitor feeds from security systems, 50% said they should undertake credit checks and 45% said telephone calls should be screened.
  • However, many respondents also considered these a violation of their privacy – 57% for monitoring telephone calls, 57% for monitoring emails, 53% for instant messenger and 51% for social media
  • 57% respondents believe that organizations need to have a robust cyber breach response plan

Gaps in reporting corporate misconduct

  • 41% of Indian respondents would not report fraud, bribery or corruption incidents due to loyalty to colleagues
  • Only 30% were aware of whistle-blowing hotlines used for monitoring compliance with anti-bribery and corruption laws
  • 20% assented to withholding information or concerns due to internal pressure
  • 59% would report concerns around unethical behaviour to a law enforcement agency, 52% to a regulator


Notes to editors

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by EY Services Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About EY’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services (FIDS) practice
Dealing with complex issues of fraud, regulatory compliance and business disputes can detract from efforts to succeed. Better management of fraud risk and compliance exposure is a critical business priority — no matter the industry sector. With over 4,500 fraud investigation and dispute professionals around the world, we assemble the right multidisciplinary and culturally aligned team to work with you and your legal advisors. We work to give you the benefit of our broad sector experience, our deep subject matter knowledge and the latest insights from our work worldwide.