Short Essay on Employee Pilferage

This occupational crime is steadily increasing in our country in all government offices. It is virtually impossible to assess with accuracy losses caused by employee pilferage but estimates usually place them in millions of rupees annually.

It is also said that employee theft is far more prevalent than shoplifting. The pilferage has now extended even to shop employees, university/college employees, warehouses, companies, etc. In non-retail business, the loss due to pilferage by employees is even harder to estimate because the companies find it difficult to keep track of all the property and valuables.

It would be wrong to assume that employee pilferage is an exclusive activity of the lower-level employees. In one study in the United States by Norman Jaspen in 1964, it was estimated that 60 per cent of the pilferage is by employees at the executive or supervisory levels.


Gerald Robin (Journal of Research: Crime and Juvenile Delinquency, 1969: 26-27) also noted that when executives are found stealing from the company, their thefts averaged larger amounts than those of the lower-level employees.

Barlow (op. cit., 1978: 233-34) has referred to four kinds of employee pilferage: (a) casual thievery, systematic thievery and repetitive thievery, (b) thievery by lone individuals and thievery by groups of employees working together, (c) thievery that victimises the company and thievery that victimises clients or other employees, and (d) theft of cash, tools, merchandise, parts, finished products, and materials.