30 June 2014

The Readers Digest Trust Survey is unlikely to have much statistical reliability but in each of the last ten years has given some sort of validation to lists described as the most trusted professions and the most trusted individuals. The process is that respondents are asked to place nominated professions and individuals in a pecking order.

There is a consistency year on year about the perceived trustworthiness of professions – many of the 50 identified are occupational groups not traditionally regarded as professions. Firefighters, Paramedics, Rescue volunteers, Pilots and Nurses top the list, and the least trusted are assessed to be Car Salespeople, Sex workers, Politicians, Door to Door salespeople and Telemarkers. (Paramedics and Rescue Volunteers are paired as equally trusted, as are Politicians and Sex workers, and also Lawyers and Airport Baggage Handlers!).

State servants are not included as a unique professional group.

Journalists, as in previous years, do not inspire much trust – rating 43rd, between Call Centre staff  and Real Estate agents. Possibly conflicting with that assessment is the ranking of the 50 most trusted individuals… there are at least 20 on the list who are media or TV personalities.

This week is Leadership Week in New Zealand. Many CEOs will feature in media items. Ironically in the ranking of professions, CEOs at 41st are very much among the “also rans”  This sits uncomfortably with the observation in the Reader’s Digest report by a psychologist, that “the people we trust are those we feel we can rely on – people who are intrinsically stable and dependable.”

Almost everyone on the list of New Zealand’s most trust individuals is either prominent in sport, as a media personality or as a politician.  Willie Apiata VC , who remains in 1st place, is the obvious exception.
2014’s most trusted professionals
1. Firefighters
2. Paramedics
2. Rescue volunteers
4. Nurses
5. Pilots
6. Doctors
7. Pharmacists
8. Veterinarians
9. Armed Forces personnel
10. Police
11. Teachers
11. Scientists
13. Childcare workers
14. Farmers
14. Dentists
16. Bus/train/tram drivers
16. Flight attendants
18. Chefs
18. Electricians
20. Hairdressers
21. Architects
21. Plumbers
23. Builders
23. Postal workers
25. Authors
25. Waiters
27. Mechanics
27. Truck drivers
27. IT technicians
30. Accountants
31. Shop assistants
32. Cleaners
32. Bankers
32. Personal trainers
35. Taxi drivers
36. Charity collectors
37. Lawyers
37. Airport baggage handlers
39. Clergy (all religions)
40. Financial planners
41. CEOs
42. Call centre staff
43. Journalists
44. Real estate agents
45. Insurance salespeople
46. Car salespeople
47. Sex workers
47. Politicians
49. Door-to-door salespeople
49. Telemarketers