Nurses the most ethical profession: survey

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Nurses are the most highly regarded profession, while car salespeople once again rank lowest according to Roy Morgan Research’s 2016 survey on the honesty and ethical standards of 30 professions.

The May survey canvassed the views of more than 650 Australians aged over 14, and found 92% of respondents rate nurses as the most ethical and honest profession. It is the 22nd consecutive year nurses have taken out the top position.

Doctors and pharmacists came second (both up 2% to 86%), followed by engineers (up 4% to 78%), school teachers (down 1% to 77%) and dentists (up 4% to 75%).

Police jumped 3% to reach an all-time high result of 72%, with High Court judges (up 3% to 71%) and State Supreme Court judges (up 1% to 70%) taking out the seventh and eight positions.

The 2016 survey reveals university lecturers achieved the biggest gains (up 7% to 68%), followed by accountants (up 6% to 51%), public servants (up 4% to 39%), lawyers (up 4% to 35%), directors of public companies (up 4% to 26%) and Federal MPs (up 4% to 17%).

At the other end of the scale, car salesmen are Australia’s least trusted profession – unchanged at just 4% – a position held for the past 30 years.

Advertising people were the second lowest ranked profession (up 4% to 9%), followed by real estate agents (up 1% to 10%).

Along with the teachers, just three other professions lost respect from Australians. Ministers of religion posted the biggest drop in rankings (down 4% to 35%), down from a high of 59% in 1996 when they were first included and now at the lowest they have ever been rated.

Bank managers recorded the second biggest fall (down 4% to 30%, and down 13% since 2014). “This is the lowest since 2002 (a record low of 29%) and well below their rating in 1988 of 54%,” Roy Morgan Research notes.

Additionally, union leaders fell 1% to 13% following last year’s Royal Commission into union corruption.

“Roy Morgan’s annual Image of Professions survey for 2016 shows a majority of professions (23) recorded increases in their ratings for ‘ethics and honesty’ over the past year,” notes Gary Morgan, executive chairman of Roy Morgan Research.

“Interestingly, Federal MPs have increased on the eve of a new Federal Election and are at their highest since early 2009 at the time the Rudd Government sent out stimulus payments of up to $950 to more than 13 million Australians.”

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