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Swiss place trust in life-saving services

Do you trust these men? Basel firemen in historic uniform celebrating 125 years of a professional service in April 2007 Keystone

Swiss men and women trust firefighters and nurses more than any other profession, according to a European survey conducted by consumer magazine Reader's Digest.

This content was published on April 3, 2007 - 19:32

What's more, Swiss have twice as much faith in their politicians as the European average – although coming bottom of the list and trusted by only one Swiss in seven, Swiss politicians shouldn't congratulate themselves just yet.

As part of the Reader's Digest European Trusted Brands 2007 survey, 1,100 representative Swiss were asked: "How high is your trust in the following professions in Switzerland?"

Ninety-four per cent of respondents answered "very high" to "quite high" for nurses and the fire brigade – although faced with a burning room the remaining six per cent would presumably change their minds.

Swiss chemists received a rating of 90 per cent, pipping pilots and doctors, both on 89 per cent.

Fewer than half of Swiss trust travel agents (49 per cent), financial advisers (38 per cent) and trade union leaders (28 per cent).

But coming out worst – and trusted by fewer than a quarter of the Swiss population – were journalists (23 per cent), footballers (20 per cent), car dealers (17 per cent) and politicians (14 per cent).

The results show that people generally trust professionals whose actions affect their health or safety, whereas people who deal with words and promises are more likely to be met with raised eyebrows.

European comparison

Switzerland was largely in step with levels of professional trust across Europe – the fire brigade came top in 12 of the 15 countries questioned. Pilots came second, closely followed by the medical troika of chemists, nurses and doctors.

The greatest gap between Swiss and European attitudes was regarding the police: 80 per cent of Swiss expressed faith in their law enforcers compared with a European average of only 60 per cent.

Indeed when it comes to figures of authority the Swiss are more trusting than the European average in every category: police, judges (64 per cent compared with 50 per cent) and even politicians (14 per cent compared with seven per cent).

A noticeable case of the Swiss being less trusting than their neighbours is teaching. Fewer than three-quarters (72 per cent) of Swiss trust teachers, whereas the European average is 77 per cent.

The greatest international difference was in attitudes towards taxi-drivers. Whereas 84 per cent of Finns trusted their cabbies, only 15 per cent of Czechs did. Swiss taxi-drivers were trusted by 54 per cent of fares.

swissinfo with agencies

A question of trust

Most-trusted professionals in Switzerland:
1. Firefighter
1. Nurse
3. Chemist
4. Pilot
4. Doctor

Least-trusted professionals in Switzerland:
16. Union leader
17. Journalist
18. Footballer
19. Car dealer
20. Politician

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