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Top Ten Most Honest Professions


Gallup completes a survey every year on “Honesty/Ethics in Professions.” Those who participated in Gallup’s survey were given a simple prompt: “Please tell me how you would rate the honest and ethical standards of people in these different fields- very high, high, average, low or very low.” The resulting ranking was based on what percentage of those surveyed thought the profession had very high/high ethical standards. The results might surprise you. If you’re looking to work with honest people in order to keep your money safe, consider working with a financial advisor who is bound by a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.

Top Ten Honesty/Ethics

Honesty and ethics is something that is often argued against when it comes to being successful in your career. Many believe that the dishonest are the ones that rise to the top and make the most amount of money, while others think that good guys don’t finish last. You definitely want to work with people who have high ethics, especially if they’re managing your money. Those are the two main reasons that we’ve compiled this information.

For those wanting to find a respectable career, we’ve included the average salary for the role to see the balance between high ethics and high pay. Here is a look at jobs that rank high and low in ethics and what people get paid to work in those positions. We’ve compiled the data from the Gallup poll as well as from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are the professions that ranked as the most honest with their net score from Gallup and the average salary for the position:

1. Nurses: 79% rated high or very high; $81,220 (mean salary for a Registered Nurse)

2. Medical Doctors: 62%; $229,300

3. Pharmacists: 58%; $132,750

4. High School Teachers: 53%; $62,360

5. Police Officers: 50%; $65,790

6. Accountants: 41%; $78,000

7. Judges: 39%; $151,030

8. Clergy: 34%; $49,720

9. Bankers: 26%; $66,933

10. Real Estate Agents: 24%; $62,190

The financial practitioners out there aren’t on either the top or bottom list as many people likely aren’t sure what to make out of those professionals. People still trust the people who keep them safe, either through their health or from crime and international turmoil. The surprising addition to the list is auto mechanics, who many express their lack of trust for vocally.

Bottom Five in Honest/Ethics

Knowing the most honest professions isn’t the only thing to be aware of. It’s also interesting to see the bottom ten when it comes to honesty or another way of saying it is the top ten most dishonest professions. Here are the bottom ten:

5. Advertising Practitioners: 13%; $138,730

4. Business Executives: 12%; $189,520

3. Car Salespeople: 8%; $69,746

2. Members of Congress: 7%; $174,000

1. Telemarketers: 4%; $31,030

It is pretty interesting that pretty much every career related to politics has a reputation of distrust with the general public. That makes it very difficult to feel like the country itself is in good hands, or that at a very minimum the trust is certainly not there. There could be some perception playing into the bottom ten, though, as lawyers, politicians, advertising, and the news are all things that people have been told over and over again not to trust.

Bottom Line

We all know that there can be good and bad in all occupations, but there are some takeaways here. Most of the professions or careers that rank high on the ethics test deal with our basic hierarchy of needs. The top contenders all play a role in the general public’s, health, wealth and safety. Just a little food for thought for millennials who decided what career path they will choose and others who are considering a career change.

Tips for Financial Planning

  • Your career is a huge part of financial planning because it directly impacts how much money you have available. If you’re looking to maximize that money in order to reach your financial goals, consider working with a financial advisor who can help you create a full plan for your finances. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Trying to determine what your return could be on a variety of investments? Consider using our investment calculator.

Photo Credit: flickr