This Is the Profession People Trust the Most

You may be surprised at these survey results that rank some of the most common professions.

People want to have faith in the products they buy (such as the ones from the annual Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey), the people they employ, and the information they read. Having a good reputation is a big part of that trust. In the workplace, some professions are more reputable than others. A Gallup Poll gave a rating for 15 occupations in terms of honesty and ethical standards after asking people to rate all the professions as highly honest and ethical, average, or low.

Unsurprisingly, 89 percent of people ranked the “honesty and ethical standards” of nurses as high or very high. This isn’t the first time nurses topped the poll—in fact, they’ve been consistently ranking at the top for 19 years. Medical professionals are trusted across the board, Forbes reports. In fact, three out of the top five most trusted professions are in the medical field. Doctors come in at number two after nurses and pharmacists rank at number four. The other professions in the top five are teachers and police officers.

Coming in third place with a whopping 75 percent of people believing their ethics are very high is grade school teachers. This is a nine-point improvement from their most recent rating back in 2017. It is believed that this major increase is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic as many teachers faced unprecedented challenges while teaching over Zoom.

At the bottom of the pack are salespeople, members of Congress, and advertising practitioners. Only 8 percent of people view salespeople as honest and ethical. If you want to outsmart a car salesperson, here are some handy tips.

Although the list changes from year to year, many professions like nurses are regular repeats. In fact, the only time nurses didn’t top this list since their 1999 addition was in 2001. Firefighters topped the list that year after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Pharmacists and clergy members were also frequently the most highly-rated professionals for their ethics before 1999, per the poll. Some of these rankings make sense, while others might be a bit surprising. Read on to learn about some of the most trusted brands of 2020.


  • Gallup: “U.S. Ethics Ratings Rise for Medical Workers and Teachers”
  • Forbes: “America’s Most & Least Trusted Professions [Infographic]”
  • Gallup: “Firefighters Top Gallup’s “Honesty and Ethics” List”

Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is a former staff writer at Reader’s Digest. There’s a 90% chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she’s not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts and liking one too many astrology memes.