Politics is considered the least trustworthy profession, followed by banking

The good news is that PR people came out top in a recent survey commissioned by PRmoment which asked the general public how much they trusted certain professionals. The bad news is that the survey only compared them to politicians, bankers, estate agents and journalists.

Supplied by Opinium Research 

The survey, carried out by Opinium Research, spoke to over 2000 people online. The professionals considered most untrustworthy were politicians. This is not unexpected considering the expenses row that dominated the headlines last year. Chris McCrudden, account director at PR agency Speed, is not at all surprised that MPs were rated so poorly, but believes that many started out with good intentions. He says: “I've known quite a few aspiring politicians personally, and most of them enter the profession – because that's what it is now – for the right reasons. They see something in the world that they would like to change, and believe that change would make things better. Which makes it all the more disheartening when you see a formerly idealistic politician flipping their second home to avoid capital gains tax or promoting a bill that their younger self would have burned in the street to further their government career. No one likes a hypocrite."

Andy Barr, co-founder of PR agency 10 Yetis, believes that politicians’ lack of popularity cannot all be blamed on the expenses scandal, as even before this, “politicians hid behind misinformation and confusion with more policy re-hashes than McDonald’s serves hash browns.” Although the expenses fiasco did mean that people’s trust dropped even lower, as “ the public, quite rightly, failed to believe someone would continue to claim for a house they had sold and say it was an accident or that claiming for a duck house or a moat-cleaning operation is socially acceptable while the tax payers go through a recession. Saying all that, don't get me started on estate agents.”


Supplied by Opinium Research

Estate agents were considered to be more trustworthy than bankers, who were ranked just below politicians. Again, not a surprising result considering the current bad press over bankers‘ bonuses. Speed’s McCrudden believes that the problem with bankers, estate agents and to some extent PR professionals, is that they are seen to be disreputable because of the “get-rich-quick profit motive”. Although he adds, “This at least makes their behaviour predictable. And if you can predict how someone will behave, why do you need to trust them?"

PRmoment also asked Opinium Research to find out what the public think of PR as a career. This revealed that more than twice as many people think PR is an unnecessary profession (14 per cent) than those who consider it to be important (6 per cent). Generally, it is seen as a fairly well-paid and good career choice that tends to be more youthful than old-fashioned.



Opinium Research carried out 2009 online interviews in the UK. The research period was 12 January to 15 January 2010.


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