HR Professionals say Gig Economy is Impacting Hiring and Staffing

December 10th, 2019

—“Hiring Trends in the Age of the Gig Economy, Identity Fraud, and Social Media”
Whitepaper Released by Sterling and HR Research Institute—

NEW YORK, NY (December 10, 2019)—Sterling, a leading provider of background and identity services, today 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.

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.”

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

The full 32-page report—which includes additional data and analysis, as well as key takeaways for organizations seeking suggestions in the areas covered—can be viewed at

Please direct any media inquiries on the whitepaper to Jacob Streiter / 646-695-7047

The “Hiring Trends in the Age of the Gig Economy, Identity Fraud, and Social Media” survey ran during August and September 2019. Sterling and gathered 317 usable complete and partial responses primarily from HR professionals in virtually every industry vertical. Respondents were primarily from the U.S. The participants represent a broad cross-section of employers by number of employees, ranging from small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to enterprises with 20,000+ employees.

About Sterling
Sterling—a leading provider of background and identity services—offers a foundation of trust and safety that spans across industries, professions, and borders. Our technology-powered services help organizations create great environments for their workers, partners, and customers. With office locations around the world, Sterling conducts more than 75 million searches annually. Visit Sterling online at

About and the HR Research Institute’s HR Research Institute helps HR departments keep their finger on the pulse of HR. is committed to creating inspired and informed workforces by maximizing the potential of HR professionals around the world. Over 1.75 million HR professionals rely on as a trusted industry resource for education, career development, research and compliance. Visit to download free research and maximize HR potential.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.

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