The last year has seen an increase in the number of candidates lying on their CVs, new research from pre-employment screening company Powerchex has revealed.

Analysis of 3,876 applications submitted to financial services employers between June 2007 and May 2008 highlighted discrepancies on 17 per cent of documents, up from 13 per cent the year before.

The survey also showed that women are more likely to embellish their CVs with false information regarding academic qualifications and employment experience than men.

Where a candidate went to university was also found to have an impact on the level of discrepancies, with 43 per cent of CVs from low ranking university graduates containing embellishments compared to 14 per cent of CVs from graduates of top 20 institutions.

Alexandra Kelly, managing director of Powerchex, said: "There appears to be a trend that the lower ranked the university, the higher the likelihood of discrepancies on a CV. Graduates from lesser known universities may feel they need to alter their background to compete."

Meanwhile, recruitment industry experts have told the Times that job applicants should keep their CVs are concise as possible, exclude irrelevant information and avoid exaggerating their experience.