20 Employee Theft Statistics You Need to Know in 2021

Corporations and businesses lose millions every year due to employee theft. While it might not seem like a prime financial concern, it can cripple a company if it gets out of hand.

To understand this problem better, take a look at this list of employee theft statistics. We’ve collected the data that best highlights how harmful employment theft is for individual businesses and on a larger scale.

Here, you’ll learn about the costs of employee theft, embezzlement, insider data breaches, and much more. This article will illustrate how dangerous it can be to lose control over employees’ wrongdoings.

Staggering Workplace Theft Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • 95% of all businesses have dealt with employee theft
  • Employee dishonesty costs US businesses $50 billion every year
  • Embezzlers steal $357,650 on average
  • Businesses generally recover 39% of embezzled funds
  • 60% of dentists fall victim to embezzlement.
  • Time theft causes companies to lose around $400 billion every year
  • Dishonest restaurant employees steal $1,900 on average

Stats on Employee Theft Cases

1. Over 26,000 employees were apprehended for stealing in 2020.

(Source: Jack L. Hayes International)

Employee theft statistics 2020 reveal a significant decrease in such incidents — 20.3% less than in 2019. In these cases, $32 million were recovered.

“Essential” retailers, however, report 2.7% more dishonest employees than the previous year.

2. 95% of all businesses suffer employee theft.

(Source: CompareCamp)

Almost every business in the US has reported employee theft cases. In over 50% of the instances, the loss was in office supplies or the use of company equipment for personal benefit.

3. Every year, US businesses lose $50 billion to employee dishonesty.

(Source: Embroker, ISN)

On a national level, the US suffers staggering losses because of employee dishonesty (stealing, being unproductive, etc.). Employee theft statistics show these losses aren’t distributed evenly. Research suggests that one in three business failures happens due to internal theft.

4. Noncash assets made up 21% of all asset misappropriation cases in 2018.

(Source: ACFE)

The term “asset misappropriation” describes a wide range of activities — cash larceny, unauthorized expense reimbursements, skimming, and more.

Theft of noncash assets has the highest embezzlement incident rate among such offenses — 21% and costs $98,000 on average.

On the other hand, register disbursements (fraudulent refunds or voids that allow perpetrators to remove funds from cash registers or POS systems) are the rarest instance of asset misappropriation. They make up 3% of all cases, costing $29,000 on average.

Embezzlement Statistics

5. Embezzlement costs a company $357,650 on average.

(Source: Embroker)

Embezzlement schemes can go undetected for a very long period while draining the organization’s funds. Employee theft statistics show that the average embezzler works for eight years for the company before getting caught.

6. 33% of embezzlement perpetrators work in accounting or finance.

(Source: The Balance SMB)

Accounting fraud statistics show that one-third of embezzlement cases involve someone from this department or from finance as the perpetrator. Meanwhile, 85% of the cases involve someone at a manager level or higher.

7. 70% of embezzlement cases last longer than a year.

(Source: The Balance SMB)

At the same time, employee embezzlement statistics show that around 30% of embezzlement cases last three years or longer.

8. On average, businesses recover 39% of embezzled funds.

(Source: The Balance SMB)

According to the employee theft stats, businesses typically get back less than half of their stolen money by restitution, settlements, or insurance.

9. Church crime would account for over $80 billion by 2025.

(Source: Brotherhood Mutual)

Fraud occurs in all kinds of religious institutions, and almost anyone with influence can divert a part of the church’s funds to themselves.

Church embezzlement statistics show an increase in wrongdoings by 6% every year, and 80% of such cases go unreported to law authorities.

10. Three out of five dentists are victims of embezzlement.

(Source: Dental Town)

According to the most recent dental embezzlement statistics, most practicing dentists will become victims of embezzlement at least once in their careers.

The average scheme lasts between two and five years and results in over $100,000 loss for the practice.

11. 79% of embezzlement incidents involve more than one person.

(Source: The Balance SMB)

Embezzlement schemes are usually complex. The perpetrator often convinces others to cooperate to stay undetected, as shown by employee data on theft statistics.

12. Cash makes up 34.5% of all asset misappropriation in nonprofit organizations.

(Source: MIP)

The top three kinds of fraud are asset misappropriation, financial statement fraud, and corruption. Of these, misappropriation with cash, such as skimming, larceny, and register disturbances, are by far the most common, nonprofit embezzlement statistics reveal.

Annually, nonprofit organizations lose a median of $168,000 to employee theft. Embezzlement and check fraud account for $158,000.

Costs of Internal Theft Statistics

13. In 2019, 66.7% of retailers reported an increase in shrink.

(Source: Jack L. Hayes International)

In retail, shrink refers to inventory loss due to employee theft, shoplifting, damage, or inventory mismanagement.

In 2019, only 23.8% of retailers reported a decrease in shrinkage, according to retail employee theft statistics. Meanwhile, another 9.5% said there were no changes in numbers.

14. Time theft costs companies around $400 billion every year.

(Source: Connecteam)

Time theft is a big issue well worth addressing. A business that doesn’t keep track of employee productivity can lose tremendous amounts of money.

According to employee time theft statistics, it affects 75% of the companies in the US and accounts for $400 billion in losses every year.

15. Walmart loses $1.5 billion to shoplifting and employee theft.

(Source: Forbes)

Walmart is the biggest retail chain in the US. The retailer loses around 1.4% of sales revenue to shrinkage, accounting for $1.5 billion per year.

Diving further into the Walmart employee theft statistics, 38% of the losses are due to shoplifting, 35% — employee theft, and administrative make up 27%.

16. The median loss caused by employee fraud in the banking industry is $110,000.

(Source: ACFE)

Statistics on bank employee theft point to a high median cost. For comparison, the median cost in retail is $50,000 and in education — $68,000. There are 366 fraud cases in the banking industry every year.

The communications and publishing sector has only 24 cases yearly but the highest median cost of $525,000.

Data on Employee Theft by Industry

17. 60% of data breaches happen because of insider threats.

(Source: Security Intelligence)

Over half of cyber breaches originate from the inside. That means an employee either intentionally helps cybercriminals or makes a mistake they can exploit.

According to workplace theft statistics, the costs of insider threats add up to $8.76 million annually.

18. Occupational fraud accounts for $7 billion in losses worldwide annually.

(Source: ACFE)

According to the most recent employee theft research, there are approximately 2,690 cases of fraud around the world, with a median cost of $130,000.

19. The average dishonest restaurant employee steals $1,900.

(Source: DIGIOP)

Restaurant employee theft facts show that the most used fraud is refund for cash or POS fraud. It involves reporting a refund for a meal even though no customer asked for it and taking the money.

Dishonest restaurant employees can get away with stealing nearly $2000 before anyone notices.

20. There were 333 arrests for internal mail theft in the US postal service between October 2019 and September 2020.

(Source: USPS OIG)

The US Postal Office theft statistics show they conducted 1221 investigations between October 2019 and September 2020. They resulted in 333 arrests and around 1000 administrative actions against dishonest employees.


Worker theft is a silent yet deadly issue that can end many businesses. Sadly, it doesn’t get nearly enough time under the spotlight, allowing most perpetrators to get away with it.

The reasons people steal from their employer are numerous — insufficient salary and unpleasant work environment are among the prime ones. All the same, realizing how common the problem is in the first place is pivotal to addressing it.

While some industries are more affected, employee dishonesty is widespread, resulting in over $50 billion in losses yearly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common is employee theft?

Employee theft is prevalent — 95% of all businesses have had workers stealing from them. These incidents result in $50 billion in losses every year.

Cash asset misappropriation is a widespread kind of employee theft. It comprises around 34.5% of all instances, while noncash makes up 21%.

What percentage of shrink is employee theft?

Employee theft and shoplifting cause the vast majority of shrinkage overall.

The available data reveals that around two-thirds of inventory shrinkage happens because of employee theft. On the other hand, between 30% and 40% of shrink is due to shoplifting.

How does employee theft affect other employees?

Employee theft usually causes the management and other employees to feel tense and don’t trust each other. It can slow down productivity and make it difficult for the staff to concentrate on their given tasks.

The psychology of employee theft tends to be contagious. Such instances can inspire more workers to join in or steal on their own. This trend tends to die off suddenly whenever management notices the theft or finds the culprit(s).

Do employees steal more than customers?

The difference between how much customers and employees steal varies from one industry to the next. In many instances, however, employees are the ones stealing more.

That applies to industries with common occurrences of shoplifting. For instance, employee theft statistics in retail highlight that workers are responsible for more inventory shrink than customers.

More precisely, around 60% is attributable to employee theft, while 30-40% is due to shoplifting.