Resources: News Updates

New Study Finds that Americans Overwhelmingly Support Employment Background Checks - June 22, 2016

The Expectation of Safety, Particularly in the Workplace, is the Driving Factor Behind the Public's Support for Background Screening

NEW YORK, June 22, 2016 - Sterling Talent Solutions (Sterling), one of the world's largest background screening and on-boarding solutions providers, today released the results of a survey on employment background checks which overwhelmingly demonstrates that the vast majority of Americans support and expect employers to conduct regular background checks on prospective employees. Some of the key takeaways from the survey include:

  • 95% of Americans think background checks should be mandatory to determine whether a person has a criminal background before he or she takes on the responsibilities of a job.
  • 81% of Americans believe that feeling safe at all times is their right and the workplace is one of the top two locations where they expect to feel safe.
  • Safety pervades the top-five topics survey respondents identified as "most important to be discussed in the presidential debates this year.
  • 68% of Americans surveyed indicated that they are willing to undergo background checks themselves demonstrating that it is not just something they believe should be in place for others.
  • 78% expect to feel safe at their workplace, second only to their doctor's office (83%).
  • 65% believe that background checks provide them with a sense of safety in the workplace.

The poll, one of the largest of its kind among the U.S. population on the subject of background screening, was commissioned by Sterling and conducted by Kelton Global, a leading global insights firm which works with more than 100 of the Fortune 500 and thousands of smaller companies and organizations.

Sterling Talent Solutions Survey on Employment Background Checks

"For too long, the debate about background checks has failed to take into account how everyday Americans actually feel about the role background checks play in their daily life – namely to keep them safe – and has instead focused on issues promoted by constituents with their own misconceptions of this important exercise in due diligence and public safety," said Clare Hart, chief executive officer of Sterling. "Today, Sterling is putting forth the first in a series of reports that explain why Americans depend on employers to look into the backgrounds and criminal histories of job candidates. Importantly, contrary to much of what's been reported in the media, only 14% of Americans consider background checks to be an invasion of privacy."

Other key findings from the survey include:

Americans are especially concerned about background checks for workers who are responsible for lives. Sixty-six percent of respondents said it should be mandatory for airline pilots to have background checks. Respondents also supported mandatory checks for those who prescribe medication (63%), those who represent people in legal matters (56%), and those employed to drive or chauffeur others (44%).

In fact, safety pervades the top five topics survey respondents identified as "most important to be discussed in the presidential debates this year." These topics are terrorism (73%), healthcare (71%), immigration (58%), gun rights (53%) and public safety (48%).

Americans would even be willing to give up daily necessities to ensure their personal safety - 37% would forego use of their smartphones for one year in exchange for this assurance.

The Kelton Global survey was conducted between Dec. 28, 2015, and Jan. 11, 2016, among 1,077 Americans, 18 years of age and older, who are statistically representative of the national population. The survey's margin of error is equal to +/- 3.0%.

Download the full survey report here

About Sterling Talent Solutions

Sterling Talent Solutions (formerly SterlingBackcheck), empowers employers to hire with confidence through our comprehensive suite of background screening and onboarding solutions. Our cloud-based technology provides peace of mind by offering a simpler, smarter experience for you and your candidates – delivering accurate, reliable results and tools to maintain compliance throughout the hiring cycle.

With 18 offices in nine countries, our team of more than 3,500 employees proudly serves over 50,000 customers around the world, including a quarter of the Fortune 100. Our pioneering-technology centralizes your needs in one platform for faster, transparent results tailored to your company and industry. Sterling is accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction earned by less than ten percent of all background screening companies. For more information, visit us at

Sterling Talent Solutions is a service mark of Sterling Infosystems.


Nick Fishman
Vice President, Communications