All in an Honest Day’s Work

Honesty-by-occupation1-e1365098234601“Cretans, always liars”, so reckoned Epimenides of Crete in around the 6th century BC. Have the fibbing Cretans changed their habits or are we, as a society, still playing fast and loose with the truth today? In a recent survey by People Management, one third of their poll* of HR professionals believed that they were being told more lies than two or three years ago. Drawing on research from our worldwide MoralDNA™ Profile we’ve unearthed some interesting data about how people in different occupations view their capacity for honesty.

Our psychometric test asks the individual to respond truthfully about themselves and their values – including Honesty – measuring how important each value is to them and how they rank them against each of the other values and against the rankings of other people.

It’s interesting to discover that the police, utility, oil and gas workers, industrial goods and services, and bankers, all declared that in their opinion they rarely tell lies.  High too on the scale were the retired and our data shows us that as people age they feel less inhibited by telling the truth.

At the other end of the scale we find those who think of themselves as less honest and these include: advertisers, PR, media, charity and not-for-profit workers. Perhaps not surprisingly politicians also appear to be quite comfortable telling lies.

Even though we find measurable differences between these groupings of occupations, the gap between them is not large; advertisers and PR employees were on average more honest than 33% of our sample, while the police were more honest than 57% of the sample.  It is also interesting to see the groupings of occupations.  At the “honest” end were professionals that deal with services delivered by multiple-layered organisations, such as law enforcement, utilities and banks, engineering and the military.  At the other end our less than honest workers are employed in communication – in PR, media, politics, broadcasting and arts and crafts only a little way below marketing.

If people feel that they are not being honest within their daily working lives where does that leave them and their role in the wider society? Closer inspection may show us just how this lack of truthfulness affects their lives and those that they influence.

Our research continues to offer valuable and insightful data and now offers even greater depth, showing us the differences in people’s values at home and at work.

How honest do you think you are?  Join over 80,000 people from over 200 countries around the world and find out more about your values and how you make decisions.

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*People Management Survey (sample 820 HR professionals polled)  Read the full article