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In era of eroding trust, occupations we find most—and least—trustworthy

by | Sep 25, 2018 | Public Relations

The delicate balance of “trust” has reached a fever pitch in 2018—especially when it comes to Americans’ faith in those in a wide range of occupations, such as journalists, politicians, teachers, doctors, bankers, realtors, and car and insurance salespeople. New research from pioneering next-generation real estate agency Purplebricks Group uncovers which professions are deemed the most and least trustworthy today.

The results point to a growing need among consumers for transparent and honest interactions with people who deliver their news, make their laws, teach their children and sell their homes, but don’t feel as though those in key positions are always delivering on that expectation.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, teachers and doctors lead the pack with 91 and 90 percent of Americans believing the respective professions to be the most trustworthy. Conversely, professions ranked at the bottom of Americans’ coffers of trust are bankers (14 percent), journalists (11 percent), real estate agents (11 percent), car salespeople (six percent) and politicians (four percent). Interestingly, two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans feel that bankers—in spite of recession activity within the past decade—are more trustworthy than journalists (54 percent) or lawyers (53 percent).

“Transparency is an increasingly valued attribute in today’s culture in light of public mistrust across a number of professions,” said Jonathan Adler, chief marketing officer at Purplebricks, in a news release. “The fact that the public places more trust in financial institutions than their local real estate experts is quite telling, and it’s a paradigm that we at Purplebricks strive to change. By providing a clearer way of doing business, even going so far as allowing buyers and sellers to communicate directly to aid in transparency with local real estate experts available every step of the way, we’re aiming to usher in a new era of openness and honesty in the industry.”

The study also uncovered how men and women as well as various age groups and those living in different geographic regions trust differently. Additional findings include:

National (in)security

Almost half (43 percent) of Americans feel politicians are not trustworthy at all, while they are nearly twice as likely to distrust a politician (79 percent) than a journalist (46 percent).

Location, location, location

Americans from the South are 83 percent more likely than those from the West to say journalists simply cannot be trusted at all. Meanwhile, Americans from the West are more than twice as likely as those from the Midwest to find real estate agents not trustworthy at all.

With age comes distrust

Millennials are more trusting than older generations across a variety of professions. When compared to Boomers, Millennials are more trusting of journalists (59 percent vs. 50 percent), insurance salespeople (58 percent vs. 44 percent) and politicians (29 percent vs. 13 percent).

Gender reveal

There’s a gender gap when it comes to trusting a variety of professions, as more men than women describe doctors (40 percent vs. 33 percent), bankers (17 percent vs. 12 percent) and journalists (13 percent vs. 8 percent) as completely trustworthy.

Sales not created equal

Two-thirds (68 percent) of Americans say they cannot trust car salespeople, while around half (49 percent) say the same about those who sell insurance.

This study was based on an online survey conducted by Kelton Global to 1,028 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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