Record level: Trust of Germans and people worldwide in institutions reaches all-time high since 2012
Government back in the spotlight: Germans trust the government the most and make big concessions
CEOs must demonstrate leadership: CEOs do not meet expectations of Germans
In times of crisis, Germans trust government the most. In a trust ranking of four institutions – government, business, media and NGOs – government comes out on top. Its ranking has risen by 19% (to 64%) since the crisis began, a high they have not seen since 2012. Following government comes business (56%, +8% pts.), media (53%, +4% pts.) and NGOs (50%, +7% pts.). The data comes from the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic. For this report, Edelman surveyed over 13,200 people in eleven markets on their trust in April 2020.
There is nearly no difference in Germans’ trust in the federal and national government (trust in federal government is 67 %, in state government 66%). "We are currently experiencing a turnaround in trust. The government has regained the mandate to lead – a trend that is not only evident in Germany, but worldwide. It remains to be seen if this rise is sustainable. Now it is important to act transparently and give people orientation during the biggest health and financial crisis of our time," says Christiane Schulz, CEO of Edelman Germany.
The German population's trust in these institutions overall is currently at an all-time high. The German trust index is at 56 (+10 points). In fact, there is a record level in trust globally (61, +6 points).
Government has to fulfil trust
The Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic shows that Germans are demanding the government takes the lead in all areas of pandemic control. Including:
- Providing economic relief and support (83%)
- Getting the country back to normal (79%)
- Keeping the public informed (74 %)
- Containing the pandemic (70%)
- Helping people cope (65%)
Germans are also making further concessions to the government. About three quarters of Germans (72%, global: 73%) say that they consider the pandemic-related restrictions of their freedom of movement to be entirely reasonable and appropriate. More than half are willing to allow their personal health and location information to be tracked by the government more so than they normally would in order to help track and contain the spread of the virus (53%, global: 61%).
"An important factor for Germans’ trust in the government is certainly the sustained stability of the labour market. Compared globally, Germans worry nearly the least about their jobs because of opportunities such as part-time furlough," says Christiane Schulz. 36% of Germans are worried about losing their jobs due to Covid-19, compared to 56% globally. Only the French are less concerned (35%).
CEOs have to demonstrate leadership
At first glance, trust in business has also increased, but the data does give cause for concern. Fewer than half of Germans believe that businesses are doing well or very well at implementing safety measures to protect workers from the effects of the pandemic (46%, global: 49%). Only 30 % believe that businesses are doing well or very well at putting people over profits (global: 36 %).
The situation is similarly dark for CEOs – they rank last when it comes to who is doing an outstanding job meeting the demands placed on them by the pandemic. Half of Germans want CEOs to take the lead on addressing the pandemic (50 %, global: 65 %), but fewer than a quarter of them believe that CEOs meet the requirements (24 %, global: 29 %). "CEOs need to show leadership now. The return towards a new normal offers a particularly good moment for this," says Christiane Schulz. "Also, they do not have to act alone. They must join forces with scientists and experts and work closely with other institutions such as the government."
"CEOs need to show leadership now. The return towards a new normal offers a particularly good moment for thiS.
Also, they do not have to act alone. They must join forces with scientists and experts and work closely with other institutions such as the government."
Christiane Schulz, CEO OF Edelman GERMANY
Return to new normal is the test of trust
The results show that a common approach is needed in the return to a new normal. 30% of Germans say that health authorities should lead in making the return-to-work decision (global: 32%), and 22% say the national government should (global: 27%). Overall, the Germans are calling for a cautious approach. 66% think that the government's highest priority should be saving as many lives as possible, even if it means the economy will sustain more damage and recover more slowly (global: 67%). Over 8 in 10 Germans also expect CEOs to be conservative in getting back to normal operations, even if it means waiting to bring people back to work until the virus has been brought under control (global: 75%).
"The return to a new normal and to everyday working life is the test of trust for institutions. With a joint approach from them, it is possible that the high level of trust will remain more than just a trend and stabilize in the long term," says Christiane Schulz.
About the Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic
The Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic is an update to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer. The survey was conducted by Edelman Intelligence between 15th and 23rd April and sampled more than 13,200 respondents in 11 markets: Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, S. Korea, U.K. and U.S. 1200 people were surveyed in each market, out of which 100 were informed public. All informed public respondents met the following criteria: aged 25-64; college educated; household income in the top quartile for their age in their country; read or watch business/news media several times a week; follow public policy issues in the news several times a week.