Many employees who face layoffs admit they would take valuable company information with them -- if they could get away with it, a new survey found.

In a poll of 226 workers on Wall Street, 58 percent said they would download sensitive corporate data as a pre-emptive move in case of job loss. Forty percent admitted they have already done so, according to Cyber-Ark, a Massachusetts-based IT security firm.

Workers said the information, which could be useful to competing companies, would be used as a negotiating tool to secure their next job.

The data they would take includes customer and contact databases, plans and proposals, product information, and access and password codes, the survey shows.

Sixty-two percent of workers said it was easy to sneak company information out of the office. Nearly half said they would use a memory stick, while others said they would use e-mail, encrypted storage websites, CDs, and even cameras.

Though the trend is increasingly prevalent at larger companies, small-business owners are still vulnerable to data theft, said Adam Bosnian, Cyber-Ark's vice president of products and strategy.

"Let employees know that you're going to keep an eye on your sensitive information, even if you don't put a software solution around that," Bosnian said. "That's a very low-cost and very effective way for small businesses to deter theft."