Business remains the most trusted institution, even as the economic mood gets more bleak


By Shalene Gupta

As we embrace the start of 2023 and say hello to increasing layoffs and the prospect of a recession, it’s hard to know which institutions to trust.

Edelman just released its yearly Trust Barometer, which has served as a pulse check of trust for 23 years. The 2023 report includes survey responses from over 32,000 people across 28 countries. Here are some of the key findings.

The economic mood is bleak 

    Only 40% of people believe their families will be financially better off in five years, a 10% drop from last year. Economic optimism is at an all-time low for 24 out of the 28 countries surveyed.

    89% of respondents are worried about job loss and 74% about inflation, while 76% are worried about climate change.

Business remains the most trusted institution 

    Edelman asked respondents how much they trust businesses, government, nonprofits, and the media. Business is the only trusted institution, with an 11-point lead over government and a 12-point lead over the media—the latter of which is the least trusted institution.

    50% or more of respondents want to see businesses engage more in climate change, economic inequality, and energy shortages.

    Over 70% want CEOs to take a stance on social issues like immigration, the wealth gap, discrimination, and climate change.

Polarization is on the rise in more ways than one

    Overall, 53% of respondents say their country is more divided than it was in the past.

    65% of respondents say the lack of civility and mutual respect is the worst they’ve seen, and only 30% say they would help someone who strongly disagrees with their point of view. Only 20% would be willing to have them as a coworker.

    In the United States, only about a quarter of Republicans trust the government, the media, and that they will be better off in five years. By comparison, about 60% of Democrats trust the government and the media, and 48% believe they’ll be better off in five years.

Business remains the most trusted institution, even as the economic mood gets more bleak

You can check out the full report here.

Fast Company