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First Advantage 2021 Report Dives into Industry Trends

Research Reveals How Retail, Transportation, Staffing and Other Key Verticals Leverage Screening in Hiring Process

ATLANTA, May 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — First Advantage, a leading provider of technology solutions for screening, verifications, safety and compliance, today released the second part of its 2021 Trends Report, focused on industry-specific practices. The new research examines background screening preferences and behaviors in retail, transportation, staffing, healthcare and financial services, cross-referencing customer survey responses with aggregate data from First Advantage’s searches in 2020.

Given the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis in 2020, the analysis illustrates significant changes in how companies approached background screening and indicates where the industry is headed related to analytics, risk management, drug screening and global searches. Notable trends include:

  • U.S. county criminal searches increased across most industries in 2020, particularly transportation and trucking, financial, technology and education. Conversely, there was a decrease in these searches for retail, real estate and restaurants.
  • While drug testing declined by 15 percent overall, likely the result of pandemic hiring needs, the transportation industry saw significant drug test growth, up 70 percent year over year.
  • Nearly all types of background screen searches increased in use in 2020, with the Federal Felony and Global Sanction searches growing substantially.

With regard to the individual industries covered in the report, First Advantage found:

  • Only 19 percent of retail respondents changed their drug screening policy or procedures due to COVID-19.
  • Transportation was among the few major industries to rank risk as a higher priority than speed and cost in a background screening program.
  • The staffing industry more than doubled its use of Federal Felony searches and increased Global Sanction searches by nearly 30 percent in an effort to decrease their risk profile with minimal impact on turnaround times.
  • Employment verifications rose by 40 percent in Healthcare, with on-the-job experience appearing increasingly important to these employers.
  • Financial Services remained risk-averse in 2020, with Federal Felony searches more than doubling, use of the First Advantage National Criminal File rose by 37 percent and National Sex Offender checks rose by 37 percent increase.

First Advantage CEO Scott Staples shared, “It is impossible to separate the results of our 2021 Trends Report from the story of 2020, and much of what we found underscores the events and experiences of the last year. Frontline industries such as transportation and healthcare were tasked with moving faster and minimizing risk while navigating a rapidly changing employment landscape. This year’s research paints a fascinating picture of perseverance and resilience in action, delivering actionable insights for background screening programs today and in the future.”

First Advantage will explore this year’s research during a webinar scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. ET. Titled “2021 Screening Trends Revealed,” the event will feature data-based findings and expert insights from a panel of ASQ-certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belts. Additional details and registration information is available by clicking here.

To download a full copy of the First Advantage 2021 Trends Report, please visit

About First Advantage
First Advantage is a leading provider of technology solutions for screening, verifications, safety and compliance related to human capital. Enabled by their proprietary technology platform, First Advantage’s products and solutions help companies protect their brands and provide safe environments for their customers and their most important resources: employees, contractors, contingent workers, tenants and drivers. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, First Advantage has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

To learn more, please visit

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