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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

Trust in government, business and media rising in the UAE

New survey finds country rates in the top four for trust in its institutions

The Al Fursan aerobatic demonstration lights up the capital skyline on National Day.
The Al Fursan aerobatic demonstration lights up the capital skyline on National Day.

At a time of growing distrust of institutions around the world, people in the UAE are increasingly confident in government and business, a new survey has found.

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that the Emirates is one of the best in the world when it comes to measuring trust in key areas.

It places the UAE in the top four countries where respondents were asked if they trusted their government.

The poll, released on the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, found 82 per cent trusted the UAE Government, a rise of five per cent on last year, and putting the country in second place, narrowly behind China.

By contrast, a lack of trust was an issue in 16 of the 26 countries in the survey. They included Spain, with a fall of eight points to 26 percent, and Russia, where only one in three said they trusted their rulers.

While trust rose slightly in the UK and USA, a majority in those countries were still skeptical about their governments. Globally, trust in government rose by three percent.

It was a similar picture for trust in business where UAE’s score of 74 per cent was up six points from 2018, placing the country in fourth place, with China first.

Those scoring poorly included Russia, with again only one in three saying they trusted business, a fall of seven per cent.

In the finally category, trust in media rose by three points to 60 per cent in the UAE, with the country fourth behind India, Indonesia and China.

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Edelman said the media was the least trusted of the three institutions they surveyed, with significant falls in Russia, Turkey and Spain.

Despite repeated attacks by President Trump, trust in American media rose three points, although, at 48 per cent, it still represented under half the population.

The annual Edelman survey is divided into two groups of respondents. It calls the first the “informed public”, which include university educated individuals who are in the top 25 per cent of incomes and are generally well-informed on current affairs.

The second group - the general public - make up 84 per cent of the population, and amounts to just over two thirds of 1,500 people surveyed last October and November.

The research found a widening gap between the two groups, with 65 percent of the informed public saying they trusted institutions compared to only 49 per cent of the general public saying they felt the same way.

It also found that worldwide 75 per cent of people trusted their employer more than any other group.

In the UAE, 83 per cent said they had a strong relationship with their employer, a rise of seven points and putting the country fourth globally.

The trust gap between the two groups is at its most severe in developed nations, the survey found, with a deficit of -24 in the UK, -minus 20 in Canada and -18 in France.

"The last decade has seen a loss of faith in traditional authority figures and institutions,” said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman.

"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.”

One reason for the shift is that women in the countries surveyed are increasingly distrustful, especially of business.

Overall, 74 per cent of men in the UAE said they trusted their institutions, compared with 64 percent of women - a trust gap of 10 points.

The survey also found that many people around the world were pessimistic about the future, with only in three of the general population thinking they will be better off in five years’ time.

Updated: January 22, 2019 10:47 AM

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