Screening of Contingent Workers Raising a Variety of Concerns, Including Confusion about Laws and Regulations

  • Gig economy is impacting hiring and staffing practices, screening of contingent workers big issue
  • A majority of respondents do not incorporate fingerprinting into their screening process for new hires
  • Only 20% report using social media for screening purposes

Sterling, a leading provider of background and identity services, released its new whitepaper, Hiring Trends in the Age of the Gig Economy, Identity Fraud, and Social Media. Authored in partnership with’s Research Institute, the whitepaper reveals data, insights, and best practices pertaining to an array of areas affecting today’s workplace environments—including contingent worker screening, identity verification, drug screening, continuous monitoring, and social media checks.

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The study surveyed over 300 HR professionals, representing a broad cross-section of employers that range from small businesses with less than 50 employees to enterprises with more than 20,000 employees.

“As the workplace landscape evolves, screening methods and technologies are continuing to advance and innovate. This whitepaper underscores the need—across many sectors—for effective, accurate, and compliant background checks,” said David Bloom, General Manager, Gig Economy at Sterling. “A comprehensive screening program shapes workplace culture by helping create great environments for workers, partners, and customers.”

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Among the study’s findings:

  • GIG ECONOMY IMPACT: 64% of respondents say the gig economy is impacting their hiring and staffing practices, with the screening of contingent workers raising a variety of concerns, including confusion about laws and regulations.
  • IDENTITY VERIFICATION: Nearly half (48%) report at least one instance of employment identity fraud, while a majority (69%) do not incorporate fingerprinting into their screening process for new hires.
  • DRUG SCREENING: Despite marijuana legalization in some areas, nearly half (46%) report still screening all employees for marijuana. Meanwhile, 23% say they’ve stopped screening for it entirely, 15% screen only for certain types of jobs, and 4% screen only in regions where it is still illegal.
  • CONTINUOUS MONITORING: Most respondents do not yet engage in continuous employee background screening. Among those that report they do, 62% say continuous monitoring has reduced organizational risk, 38% say it has uncovered criminal activity, and 18% say it has uncovered fraud.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA CHECKS: 20% report using social media for screening purposes. Further, 50% expect that over the next several years, there will be greater acceptance of this practice.

“With the growing gig economy, identity fraud issues, and changing drug laws, the modern HR team must be informed, resourceful, and forward-thinking. Among the tools available that maximize safety and minimize risk are continuous monitoring, social media checks, and biometrics scanning,” stated Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of

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