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Job-hopping trend heralds new era of personal data risk

five years

Record numbers of job seekers expected to lose sight of who holds their personal information. The pressure is on businesses to secure and protect sensitive information about employees past and present.

Graduates are changing jobs more often than previous generations. It is estimated that by the time today’s millennials reach the age of 32, they will have changed jobs four times[1]. With this trend for job hopping comes an increase in the number of employment records that HR departments must retain, store securely and ultimately destroy within a legally determined timeframe. However, recent research from Iron Mountain (NYSE: IRM), the global leader in storage and information management services, suggests that many HR departments may not be equipped to deal with this trend. The research shows that 50 percent of mid-sized businesses in Europe have out-of-date processes for managing their HR records, which could be putting personal information – including people’s right to be forgotten –at risk.[2]

Many mid-market businesses (31 percent) store HR documents relating to employees longer than they are legally entitled to and a quarter (25 percent) don’t know the legal requirements. As the job-hopping trend gathers pace, Iron Mountain is calling on organisations to consider improving their information management practices to protect the increasing volume of personally identifiable information in their care from potential exposure. Few businesses are ready to manage the increased volume of personal records as new recruits apply for jobs and current employees move on. According to Iron Mountain’s research, 65 percent of mid-market businesses still rely on email and paper for most HR processes instead of putting automation in place to help them manage the increasing volumes.[3]

Sue Trombley, Managing Director of Thought Leadership at Iron Mountain, said: “The days of a ‘job for life’ are long gone. Today people are changing roles more frequently than ever before. When they switch to a new business, employees leave a trail of personal information behind them – information that employers are legally obliged to get rid of within a defined time limit. Keeping track of what information you have, where it is and when you need to securely dispose of it is difficult.

“Employee documents are just one type of record that depend on a trigger event to determine when they should be disposed of. The event starts the retention clock ticking. Imagine just how many clocks will be ticking in every HR department – all set to go off at different times five, six or more years into the future. It’s notoriously hard to get event-based retention right and many organisations will be uncertain whether or not they have disposed securely of information when they should have. If you keep records for longer than their designated retention period, you can find yourself on the wrong side of the law, putting your organisation’s information and reputation at unnecessary risk.”


[2] Iron Mountain, Mid-market research (2016) see ‘about the research’ note below

[3] Iron Mountain, Mid-market research (2016) see ‘about the research’ note below

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