Tags: Anti-Bribery & Corruption (ABC), Tax, Treatment of Employees
Businesses and UK politicians must do better at demonstrating their ethical credentials if they are to win back the confidence of the British public - the 2022 results of the IBE's annual survey of the attitudes of the British public to business ethics.
For the last 20 years, the IBE has commissioned an annual survey of the British public’s attitudes towards business. Previously, the survey was run towards the end of the calendar year, but in 2022 we’ve switched to mid-year. This provides an early opportunity to compare with the 2021 results when the questions underwent significant revision. The report below provides an overview of the results.
Our key recommendation; Businesses and UK politicians must do better at demonstrating their ethical credentials if they are to win back the confidence of the British public.
- Public perception of how ethically business behaves has improved
44% of the British public believe that business behaves ethically, compared to 40% in 2021. Public opinion has improved for all institutions – except politicians who languish at the bottom with a 17% rating.
- Tax avoidance and bribery and corruption remain among the most important ethical issues to the British public
Corporate tax avoidance is the most important ethical issue for the 10th consecutive year, at 47%, with bribery and corruption at 27%. However on environmental responsibility – still an important concern – attitudes have improved. 24% of respondents compared with 29% in 2021.
- The gender gap on bullying and harassment reflects a post-Covid return to work
The gender gap for harassment and bullying has increased to 6 percentage points, with 12% of men and 18% of women citing this as a concern, perhaps driven by an increase in concern on the part of women consistent with a gradual return to the workplace.
- The generational gap narrows as all age groups share the top concern
A dramatic narrowing of the gap between the youngest and oldest generations for corporate tax avoidance from 20% to just 4% this year, implies this issue will be of greatest concern across the ages for some time to come.
The improvement in public perception of business culture is welcome but it is small. Business leaders must be more transparent in demonstrating and reporting how they are addressing the areas still troubling the public.
Dr Ian Peters MBE, Institute of Business Ethics