swiss trust survey 2022
Study

Who Do Swiss Trust the Most?

May 31, 2022 - Raphael Knecht

Swiss trust fire fighters more than doctors, and bankers less than taxi drivers. Find out which professionals enjoy the highest and lowest levels of trust in Switzerland in the moneyland.ch Swiss trust study.

Family, politicians, educators: A new representative study by moneyland.ch shows which individuals and professionals enjoy the highest levels of trust in Swiss society, and which groups Swiss tend to be most skeptical of. Fire fighters are the most trusted professionals in Switzerland. A high 74 percent of the 1500 residents who took part in the survey say that they have strong to very strong trust in fire fighters. That means Swiss have nearly as much trust in fire fighters as in their own family members (78 percent) and friends (76 percent).

Medical professionals – and nurses in particular – also enjoy a high level of trust. 66 percent of participants say they have strong or very strong trust in nurses. Doctors are next in line (64 percent), followed by pharmacists (61 percent).

The population’s trust in pilots (63 percent) and public transportation chauffeurs (57 percent) is also higher than average. Taxi drivers, in contrast, are much less trusted: Only 27 percent of residents strongly or very strongly trust taxi drivers. Another 27 percent of residents have little or no trust in taxi drivers.

Table 1: Trust by profession

Profession Strong or very strong trust
Fire fighters 74%
Nurses 66%
Doctors 64%
Pilots 63%
Pharmacists 61%
Train, tram, and bus drivers 57%
Police 53%
Farmers 52%
Cooks 50%
Craftsmen 49%
Scientists 49%
Engineers 45%
Teachers 45%
Judges 42%
University professors 42%
Architects 36%
Federal Council members 34%
Lawyers 33%
Soldiers 30%
Programmers 29%
Taxi drivers 27%
Athletes 26%
Civil servants 26%
Entrepreneurs 26%
Bartenders 26%
Radio show hosts 24%
Journalists 22%
Priests / Pastors 22%
Bankers 20%
TV show hosts 20%
Financial advisors 18%
Insurance consultants 16%
Swiss politicians 14%
Football players 12%
Advertising specialists 10%

 

Swiss are skeptical of advertising specialists

The advertising industry is, by far, the least trusted. 59 percent of survey participants say they have little or no trust in advertising specialists. Only 10 percent of the population has strong or very strong trust in this profession.

After advertising, football players and Swiss politicians are the next least-trusted professionals. Men are much more likely to trust football players. Women are somewhat more skeptical of politicians than men are. While politicians in general do not enjoy a great deal of trust in Switzerland, members of the Federal Council are more likely to be trusted, with 34 percent of residents having strong or very strong trust in them, compare to 14 percent for politicians in general.  

Low trust in financial professionals

The financial sector is also fairly low on the trust ranking. Over 40 percent of residents have little or no trust in either insurance consultants, financial advisors, or bankers. Lack of trust in bankers is especially prevalent among male survey participants. Nearly half of men (47 percent) say that they have little or no trust in banking professionals.

But mistrust is lower among young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 years old than it is among older residents. “Young adults have not yet been as strongly turned off to the financial industry,” observes moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz. “That may be because the younger generations of adult residents were hardly involved with the financial crisis of 2008.”

Table 2: Lack of trust by profession

Profession Little or no trust
Advertising specialists 59%
Football players 50%
Swiss politicians 46%
Insurance consultants 46%
Priests / Pastors 45%
Financial advisors 43%
Bankers 42%
Journalists 38%
TV show hosts 36%
Radio show hosts 32%
Bartenders 30%
Federal Council members 29%
Civil servants 28%
Athletes 27%
Soldiers 27%
Taxi drivers 27%
Entrepreneurs 25%
Lawyers 24%
Programmers 20%
Judges 18%
University professors 18%
Architects 17%
Police 16%
Teachers 16%
Scientists 15%
Engineers 14%
Farmers 13%
Craftsmen 13%
Cooks 12%
Train, tram, and bus drivers 11%
Pilots 10%
Doctors 10%
Pharmacists 10%
Nurses 8%
Fire fighters 7%

 

The mass media is also low on the trust rankings, with 38 percent of the population – more than one-third – having little or no trust in journalists. Trust in radio and TV show hosts is around as low, although radio hosts rank slightly higher than TV hosts.

Lawyers are popular with women

Women are more likely than average to trust lawyers. More than one-third of women (36 percent) have strong or very strong trust in members of the legal profession, compared to 30 percent of men. Another 30 percent of men have little or no trust in lawyers, compare to just 19 percent of women.

Older people are more likely to trust

A look across age groups reveals that older people tend to trust people more, and younger people tend to trust people less (see table 3). For example, trust in cooks, nurses, and train, tram, and bus drivers among Swiss between the ages of 50 and 74 years old is higher than average.

Table 3: Top 10 most trusted professions by age group

Profession 18 to 25 26 to 49 50 to 74
Fire fighters 66% 70% 83%
Nurses 59% 62% 75%
Doctors 65% 59% 71%
Pilots 60% 60% 67%
Pharmacists 57% 58% 67%
Train, tram, and bus drivers 47% 56% 64%
Police 45% 53% 56%
Farmers 44% 50% 58%
Cooks 47% 49% 53%
Craftsmen 42% 46% 56%

 

Swiss between the ages of 26 and 49 are exceptionally mistrusting of the Federal Council. Nearly one-third (32 percent) say they have little or no trust in Federal Council members, compare to 26 percent of adults in other age groups. Residents in the 26-to-49-year-old age bracket are also more likely to be skeptical of politicians in general, but the difference is less pronounced because trust in Swiss politicians is relatively low across the board.

French-speaking Swiss are more trusting

Trust in professionals across nearly all professions is higher among Swiss from the Romandie than among German-speaking Swiss. For example, farmers enjoy far more trust in French-speaking Switzerland, with 60 percent of residents having strong or very strong trust in farmers. In German-speaking Switzerland, less than half of residents (49 percent) strongly trust farmers.

Table 4: Top 10 most-trusted professions by region

Profession German-speaking
Switzerland
French-speaking
Switzerland
Fire fighters 72% 79%
Nurses 64% 74%
Doctors 61% 73%
Pilots 64% 60%
Pharmacists 61% 63%
Train, tram, and bus drivers 55% 63%
Police 53% 54%
Farmers 49% 60%
Cooks 49% 55%
Craftsmen 47% 54%

 

Trust in journalists, scientists, university professors, and teachers among residents of French-speaking Switzerland is also much higher than the national average. On the other hand, levels of trust in civil servants, police, judges, and politicians are similar across both linguistic regions.

More on this topic:
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Editor Raphael Knecht
Raphael Knecht was an analyst and a specialized editor at moneyland.ch until the end of February 2023. Since then, he is supporting the editorial team as a freelancer.