Trust Still Relies on Reliability and Transparency

February 7, 2023

Trust in businesses isn’t just assumed – it must be earned. And the best way for businesses and institutions to build that trust is to be reliable, keep their promises and be open and transparent. So finds Ipsos in its annual Global Trustworthiness Monitor, the results of which indicate that these top drivers of trust are consistent across generations.

In fact, the top 4 drivers of trust were the same across each generation, even if they weren’t quite as highly valued in general by younger than older respondents. Beyond keeping their promises and being open and transparent, consumers want businesses and institutions to behave responsibly and to offer a good value for their price. Interestingly, sharing the consumer’s values ranks lower on the list of trust drivers this year than last.

So which sectors and institutions are doing best? This year, somewhat surprisingly, it’s the Pharmaceutical industry that leads the trustworthiness rankings, with 34% of respondents believing it to be trustworthy (+3% points from last year), edging ahead of the Tech and Food & Drinks sectors (each at 33%). Even so, more respondents believe the Pharmaceutical industry to be untrustworthy (27%) than feel the same way about the Tech (22%) and Food & Drinks (21%) sectors.

The Government is the least trusted institution, with about twice as many respondents finding it untrustworthy (45%) as trustworthy (22%). Social media companies are also generally distrusted, with 38% lacking trust in them against just 22% believing them to be worthy of their trust.

Trust drivers vary by sector. For the Pharma industry, being good at what it does is most important, and this is also the case for the Tech sector, which has shown some decline in trust over the past few years.

Separately, Doctors continue to be the most trustworthy profession worldwide, while advertising executives remain the third-least trusted from a list of 18 professions (that include ordinary men/women). The report does note a slight rise in trust placed in ad executives over the past couple of years, consistent with a similar trend observed in the US.

Finally, more respondents around the world do not trust business leaders to tell the truth (37%) than do (30%). Despite skepticism around their ethics, there’s fairly widespread agreement that business leaders have a responsibility to speak out on social and political issues affecting respondents’ countries, with 50% agreeing and 18% disagreeing. Recent research from Edelman has likewise found the public believing that business can do more to address a variety of societal issues.

For more, check out Ipsos’ study here.

About the Data: The results are based on an August-September 2022 online survey of 16,017 respondents ages 16-74 across 21 countries.


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