Trust in business has reached a record high in Australia last year, but there is still distrust in big business to do the right thing, according to local findings of the Edelman Global Trust Barometer report.
Family-owned (76%) and small to medium (67%) enterprises are still the most trusted, while less than half (43%) trust big business to do what is right.
Aussie's also struggle to trust Chinese businesses, with trust at 23%, despite China being the countries biggest two-way trade partner.
Tech firms came out on top as the most trusted industry at 73% closely followed by consumer electronics at 68%, but Michelle Hutton, chief executive officer for Edelman Australia, warns the industry’s “meteoric” rise over the last decade echoes the pattern seen in the banking industry in the 90s. She advises tech firms to take steps to engage social issues like privacy and data to avoid the same fall into mistrust banks have faced globally.
Trust in the media, NGOs, government and business increased across the board in Australia, while our counterparts in the UK and the US, registered historic declines.
People also want business to play a greater role alongside government in setting regulation and the future shape of the economy. Australia bucked the global trend of declining trust in government, rebounding from the crisis in leadership last year and showing support of the new Abbott Government, according to the report. Trust in government in Australia increased to 56%, way ahead of the global average of 44%.
Despite the rise, 60% of Aussies still don't trust government leaders to tell the truth and 40% don't think government leaders make ethical or moral decisions, so it's not all plain sailing for Abbott's lot.
Hutton said: “However, for the Australian general population, trust is still hard won with only 38 percent trust in government and a 49 percent trust in business. Australia’s leaders from both government and business need to work harder to engender trust amongst the everyday Aussie.”
Almost three quarters of Australians believe the government should not work alone in setting policy and see a broader role for business to play.
Hutton added: “It has typically fallen under the remit of government to create the context for change. Today, people expect businesses to play a bigger role in shaping a positive future, trusting business to innovate, unite and deliver across borders.”
Local results for the global study, which surveyed 27,000 people in 27 countries, were released today (31 January). For more on brand trust and how not to be in the 73% of brands consuemrs don't care about, pick up the current issue of AdNews, or download the iPad edition and read our cover feature.
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