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Ethical and honest behaviour are a good guide to a person’s trustworthiness. While not the only guide (competency, character and reliability are also required), it’s a pretty good place to start.
Perhaps not surprisingly, based on research by the Roy Morgan Group, the top three ranked professions in terms of the public’s perception of their ethics and honesty are in the health sector.
94% of those surveyed rank Nurses as very high or high for ethics and honesty, closely followed by Doctors with 89% and Pharmacists with 84% of those surveyed ranking them as very high or high in terms of ethics and honesty.
The majority of respondents ranked the ethics and honesty of School Teachers, Engineers, Dentists, Police, High Court and State Supreme Court Judges, and University Lecturers as very high or high.
However, let’s flip this for a moment and rather than look at the percentage of respondents in the research who rated the profession/industry as very high or high for ethics and honesty, and let’s explore how many respondents thought the opposite.
In other words, what percentage of respondents perceived which profession/industry as untrustworthy in terms of their ethics and honesty.
What I find most interesting from the research is just how low the public’s perception is of the ethical and honest behaviour of most professions (at least, those covered by this research survey).
Let’s start with this.
50% of those surveyed ranked Accountants as untrustworthy.
Almost 70% of the respondents ranked Public Servants, Lawyers, Public Opinion Pollsters (a little ironic methinks), Ministers of Religion, and Bank Managers as untrustworthy.
It gets worse…
75% of respondents don’t trust Directors of Public Companies or Financial Planners.
80% don’t trust Newspaper Journalists in terms of their ethics and honesty
And then the research suggests more than 80% of respondents don’t trust Business Executives, Union Leaders, TV Reporters, Federal and State MPs, Talk-Back Radio Announcers, Stockbrokers, and Insurance Brokers.
Rounding off the bottom three ranked professions in terms of public perception of ethics and honesty are Real Estate Agents 93% of respondents don’t trust them, Advertising people with 95% of respondents not trusting them and bringing up last place are Car Salespeople with 96% of those surveyed not trusting their ethics and honesty.
The Time To Earn, Build and Maintain Trust is NOW!
While this is reflecting very poorly on the general public’s overall distrust in our professions and corporate businesses, the latest Edelman Trust Barometer research reveals this lack of trust is a global phenomenon and reports “a world of seemingly stagnant distrust” across business, government, NGOs and media.
Trust matters. Ethics matter. Honesty matters.
If you’re a professional, business, association or industry leader, you can’t afford to ignore this research. It’s time to put trust at the top of your strategic and operational agenda and implement learning and development programs to enhance your leaders and employees’ capacity to and accountability for proactively earning, building and maintaining trust.