Which professions do we trust now vs 28 years ago?

If you were asked what the most ethical and honest profession was, what would you say? If you were like the majority of Australians, you would say that nurses were – in fact, 92 per cent of Australians over 14 believe our generous nurses are leading the way, a great result considering yesterday was International Nurses Day. But what other professions do we trust easily or not at all? And how do these results compare to surveys conducted in 1987?

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Unfortunately, survey respondents were not asked how they felt about nurses until 1994, when 84 per cent of the population believed they were the most ethical and honest professionals.

According to Roy Morgan Research, who conducted the survey last month, of all 30 professions surveyed a majority, 17, decreased in regard to ethics and honesty while 10 professions increased and only three professions were unchanged.

Gary Morgan from Roy Morgan said, “The biggest losers this year were Bank Managers 34% (down 9%), Accountants 45% (down 7%) – their lowest rating for over a decade since 2002 and Lawyers 31% (down 7%). Another big loser was Financial Planners 24% (down 4%) – now at their lowest ever rating for very high or high ‘ethics and honesty’ following a series of scandals in the industry.

“There is still no love for our politicians with State MPs 14% (up 2%) only marginally favoured ahead of Federal MPs 13% (up 1%), but both in front of only a handful of professions including Insurance Brokers 11% (down 5%),Real Estate Agents 9% (unchanged), Advertising people 5% (down 3%) and right at the bottom of the heap – Car Salesmen 4% (up 1%) – a position they have held for over 30 years unchallenged as Australia’s least trusted profession”.

Respondents were asked: “As I say different occupations, could you please say – from what you know or have heard – which rating best describes how you, yourself, would rate or score people in various occupations for honesty and ethical standards (Very High, High, Average, Low, Very Low)?”

These are the most trusted to least trusted professions (based on very high or high trust levels) of 1987 vs today!


  1. Doctors
  2. Dentists
  3. Bank Managers
  4. School teachers
  5. Engineers
  6. Police
  7. University lecturers
  8. Accountants
  9. Lawyers
  10. Business Executives
  11. Stock brokers
  12. Insurance brokers
  13. Federal MPs
  14. State MPs
  15. Newspaper Journalists
  16. Real Estate Agents
  17. Advertising people
  18. Union leaders
  19. Car Salesmen


  1. Nurses
  2. Pharmacists
  3. Doctors
  4. School teachers
  5. Engineers
  6. Dentists
  7. State Supreme Court Judges
  8. Police
  9. High Court Judges
  10. University lecturers
  11. Accountants
  12. Ministers of Religion
  13. Public servants
  14. Bank Managers
  15. Lawyers
  16. Public opinion pollsters
  17. Financial planners
  18. Directors of Public Companies
  19. Newspaper Journalists
  20. Business Executives
  21. Talk-back radio announcers
  22. TV Reporters
  23. State MPs
  24. Union leaders
  25. Federal MPs
  26. Stock brokers
  27. Insurance brokers
  28. Real estate agents
  29. Advertising people
  30. Car Salesmen