9 Professions With the Most Unethical People, According to Americans


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Some professions just naturally seem to be full of honest and ethical people. From teachers to doctors, we expect good people to be working in careers that allow them to help others, for example.

But in the the eyes of many, other professions seem more likely to attract the ne’er-do-wells among us.

Recently, Gallup asked more than 1,000 adults from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., to name the professions they perceive as having the most honest and ethical workers. A handful of professions ended up at the very bottom of the list.

Gallup actually conducts this survey annually but does not ask about the same professions every year. So we took results from the past two years — the 2021 and 2022 surveys — to create this list.

Based on the surveys from those two years, these are the professions that people are least likely to say have honest and ethical workers.

1. Lobbyists

Lobbyist
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Survey respondents who rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in this field as “high” or “very high: 5% (as of the 2021 survey)

In both the U.S. and Western Europe, large percentages believe the political system needs a major overhaul. Many people believe the role of lobbyists long has had a corrosive effect on government affairs.

So it’s no surprise that just 5% of survey respondents believe lobbyists are people of high standards.

2. Telemarketers

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Survey respondents who rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in this field as “high” or “very high: 6% (as of the 2022 survey)

Anyone who has ever had their dinner interrupted by a telemarketer probably understands why people in this field aren’t viewed as honest and ethical by many survey respondents.

If you hate being badgered by unwanted calls, check out “8 Easy Ways You Can Stop Robocalls.”

3. Members of Congress

U.S. Capitol
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Survey respondents who rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in this field as “high” or “very high: 9% (as of the 2022 survey)

Take heart, all you senators and representatives: At least your fellow citizens view you as slightly less slimy than lobbyists.

The dislike of members of Congress is among the few things that can unite us across the red/blue divide. Nearly equal percentages of Democrats and Republicans expressed low opinions of the honesty and ethical standards of people who serve in Congress.

Other low-ranking professions

car salesman
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Following are some other professions that many people believe are populated with dishonest and unethical people.

  • Car salespeople — 10% (2022)
  • State officeholders — 12% (2021)
  • Business executives — 14% (2022)
  • TV reporters — 14% (2021)
  • Advertising practitioners –15% (2022)
  • Newspaper reporters — 17% (2021)



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