Forty-one per cent of finance sector workers have taken sensitive data to new jobs, according to a study of 600 workers in Wall Street and Canary Wharf.
News last week that staff at T-Mobile had sold on customer data brought to the public's attention the threat of personal data being breached from within.
Now research carried out by security supplier Cyber-Ark in New York and London has revealed that the recession and job insecurity is putting data at financial services firms at risk.
A third of workers said they would pass data onto friends and family to help them get jobs.
A total of 85% of people admitted they know it is illegal to download corporate information from their employer. But this didn't stop half of them taking it, and most said they would do it again.
The research also revealed how easy it was for employees to take the data. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said it has become a lot easier to take sensitive information from work.
Other shocking stats:
• 48% admit that if they were fired tomorrow they would take company information with them and
• 39% of people would download company/competitive information if they got wind that their job was at risk.
• 25% of workers said that the recession has meant that they feel less loyal towards their employer.
Mark Fullbrook, UK director of Cyber-Ark, said the survey shows that many workers are willing to commit a crime to ensure job security or make themselves more marketable.
"While there is no excuse for employees who are willing to compromise their ethics to save their job, much of the responsibility for protecting sensitive proprietary data is the responsibility of the employer. Organisations must be willing to make improvements to how they monitor and control access to databases, networks and systems, even by those privileged users who have legitimate rights."