Australia’s most and least trusted professions revealed

Sep 13, 2023
A recent study by the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) has revealed a list of the most and least trusted professions in the country. Source: Getty Images

A recent study by the Governance Institute of Australia (GIA) has revealed a list of the most and least trusted professions in the country. The 2023 Ethics Index Report surveyed 1000 people on their perception of ethical issues and conduct in Australian society and provides a snapshot into what Australians believe to be the most and least ethical occupations, organisations and sectors.

The report includes a list of the top ten most trusted professions and the ten least trusted professions. At the very bottom of the least trusted list are real estate agents; a position that has stayed fairly consistent over the years.

The second least trusted professions on the list were directors of foreign companies operating in Australia.

Local, state, and federal politicians were also down in the bottom five least trusted. Local politicians ranked slightly higher compared to their state and federal counterparts.

Compared to the 2022 report, there was an overall increase in the trustworthiness of politicians, but they still remain amongst Australia’s least trusted professionals. The remainder of the least trusted list was composed of lawyers and various senior management staff professions within major corporations.

At the very top of the most trusted list were fire and ambulance services. In comparison, perceptions of the police service were neither within the top or bottom ten. Pharmacists and nurses followed closely behind, although there was a slight decrease in the trustworthiness of nurses compared to last year.

General practitioners have remained fairly steady on the list of trusted professions, but when asked about GPs who don’t bulk bill, most participants found the behaviour to be somewhat unethical.

Vets, dentists, teachers and childcare/preschool carers filled the remainder of the most trusted list.

Overall, the report found that importance of ethics in Australia has reached an all time high. The importance of ethics for Baby Boomers in particularly increased markedly from 2022.

The survey also found that Australians view the health and education sectors as generally being the most ethical and view the media sector as the least ethical. When asked about the most important ethical challenge in 2024, cost of living emerged at the very top of the list for participants in the survey.

“I am not at all surprised that rising cost of living and the impact of inflation is top of the list of ethical challenges for 2024 and by quite a significant margin to the second and third issues,” said industry expert and Director of Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets, Su-Lin Ong, when asked to analyse the findings of the survey.

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