Employees in recession are eyeing your top secrets

LONDON (Reuters) - Almost half the financial sector workers in London and New York say they would take sensitive company information with them if they were fired, according to a new transatlantic survey.

The poll of 600 office workers in Canary Wharf in London and Wall Street in New York by management specialists Cyber-Ark revealed that 41 percent of respondents had taken sensitive data with them to their new position

A third also said they would pass on company information if it proved useful in getting friends or family a job.

Nearly 50 percent said that if they were fired tomorrow they would take company information with them, and 39 percent would download company/competitive information if they got wind that their job was at risk.

And a quarter of workers said that the recession has meant that they feel less loyal toward their employer.

“While we are seeing glimmers of hope in the UK and US economy, clearly employee confidence has been rocked,” UK Director of Cyber-Ark Mark Fullbrook said in a statement.

“This survey shows that many workers are willing to do practically anything to ensure job security or make themselves more marketable - including committing a crime.”

Top of the hit list for data thieves was customer and contact details at 29 percent, followed by plans and proposals at 18 percent and product information at 11 percent.

Thirteen percent who said they would pilfer data would also take password codes to continue getting into the network after they’ve left the company.

More than 30 percent said they would take a peek at the redundancy list to find out if their name was on it, choosing to bribe a mate in the HR department first.

The survey also showed that 85 percent of respondents admitted they knew it is illegal to download corporate information from their employer.

More than half said it has become a lot easier to take sensitive information from under their bosses noses this year, up from 29 percent last year.

The survey also highlighted differences between British and U.S. workers in the recession.

Just over a quarter of British employees said they were prepared to work 80 hours a week to keep their jobs, while only 12 percent of U.S. workers suggested they would work that much harder to keep their jobs.

The poll also showed that only 20 percent of British respondents were prepared to take a salary cut to keep their jobs compared to 50 percent of U.S. workers. (Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Patricia Reaney)