Over the past few years, the Edelman Trust Barometer has shown that in Singapore, the Trust Index – or the average percent trust across the four societal institutions of government, business, NGOs and media – remains relatively high, with Singapore in the trusted category. However, there is an increasing number of people who are concerned as to what the future holds, and they are questioning whether the system is working for them. While they stop short of a call for change, this is a clear indication that institutions and societal leaders in Singapore must grasp the opportunity to build trust.
Concerns over job security
With increasing pessimism towards economic prospects, a large majority of employees in Singapore are worried about job loss due to concerns over a looming recession, immigration, the gig economy, lack of training, and cheaper foreign competition.
It is no surprise that they expect CEOs to lead from the front, with more than 9-in-10 employees expecting CEOs to speak out on issues of the day, including trainings for the jobs of the future, the impact of automation on jobs, diversity, and the ethical use of technology. Among the general population, there is also expectation that CEOs will step forward to take the lead on change, instead of waiting for government to impose it..
Inequity undermining trust
A record number of countries are experiencing an all-time high “mass-class” trust divide, spreading from developed into the developing world. Globally, there is a 14-point gap between the informed public (65) and the mass population (51), and there are double-digit gaps in 23 other markets. The gap in Singapore is 11 points, rising two points from 2019.
Income inequality now affects trust more than economic growth, with trust stagnating in high-growth developed markets. Even in developing markets, where strong economic growth can be linked to higher trust, trust in government sinks by 24 points when comparing markets with more inequality to those with less.
Opportunity to lead in parallel
There is increasing expectation that businesses can not only make money, but also improve the communities where they operate. With stakeholders – and not shareholders – now seen as most important to a company’s long-term success, business must collaborate with government and NGOs to tackle today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. This includes upskilling and retraining the workforce, protecting workers in the gig economy, and reducing workplace prejudice and discrimination.
On these issues and others, collaboration is a major opportunity for our institutions to advance society—and build trust.
For more information on the Edelman Trust Barometer, please contact:
John Kerr, CEO, Edelman Singapore