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NEWS30 January 2019

Trust gap grows between informed and mass population

Asia Pacific Europe Latin America Media Middle East and Africa News North America Public Sector Trends UK

US – The institutions people trust has shifted in the past year as ‘my employer’ becomes more trusted than NGOs, business, government or the media.

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, 75% of respondents trusted their employer compared with 57% for NGOs, 56% for business, 48% for government and 47% for the media.

The move toward this localised trust has happened as Edelman reports the largest ever trust gap – 16 points – between the informed public ( 65%) and mass population ( 49%).

There have been record-high spikes in trust among the informed public in developed markets, while mass population trust remains relatively flat. Gender is also a factor in the trust disparity – the gender trust gap is in the double digits in several developed markets, such as Germany ( 12 points) and the US ( 11 points), mostly as a result of women’s lower trust in business.

Pessimism is gaining momentum with only one in three of mass population respondents in the developed world believing their family will be better off in the next five years. Among the mass population, just one in five think the system is working for them and 70% desire change.

Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman, said: "The past decade has seen a loss of faith in traditional authority figures and institutions. More recently, people have lost confidence in the social platforms that fostered peer-to-peer trust. These forces have led people to shift their trust to the relationships within their control, most notably their employers."

Stephen Kehoe, global chair, Reputation, added: "Divergent levels of confidence between the mass population and informed public about the future signal a continued underlying rot in the structure of society. While not everyone is taking to the streets, the data shows why protests like the Gilet Jaunes in France, the women’s marches in India and walkouts by employees at some major tech companies could become more mainstream." 

The desire for facts has prompted an increase in media consumption and the sharing of news and information, up 22 points to 72%. Trust in traditional media ( 65%) and search ( 65%), are now at their highest historical levels, driven by large increases in developed markets.

However, trust in social media ( 43%) remained low, especially in several developed regions that show large trust gaps between traditional and social media (US/Canada, 31-point gap and Europe, 26-point gap).

@RESEARCH LIVE

2 Comments

3 months ago

How do they define mass / informed? Potentially provocative terminology in today's world, even if it is a true difference.

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3 months ago

Sarah if you click onto the report you'll see how Edelman defines the terms - essentially informed are higher educated and more media and business literate.

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