Jobs and the Future of Work

Do you trust your boss? Probably not

A man using his mobile phone stands near a glass window at a building at a Tokyo's business district March 18, 2015. Japanese blue-chip firms announced wage hikes that topped increases last year, but overall pay raises across corporate Japan are not expected to offset higher costs of living or be enough to drive a sustainable economic recovery. REUTERS/Yuya Shino (JAPAN - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTR4TUDD

Image: REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Jobs and the Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

Do you trust your boss? Your employer? Your colleagues?

Probably not, says a new report from EY.

In a survey of nearly 10,000 full-time employees in eight countries, less than half said they have a ‘great deal of trust’ in their colleagues, boss or employer.

The global picture

Global trust in employers, bosses and team/colleagues
Image: EY

There are major differences around the globe. In Japan, fewer than one in four people have a great deal of trust in their employer, boss or colleagues. Compare this to India, where more than two-thirds have a great deal of trust.

There is also significant variation in whom people trust most: their employer, their boss, or their colleagues. In China, Germany, India and the UK, it’s colleagues. In Brazil, it’s employers, while in the US it’s bosses.

Have you read?

There are interesting generational differences in trust. Baby boomers are the most trusting generation, with Generation X being the least. The most significant differences surfaced in China, India and Mexico, write the report’s authors.

So what’s driving this lack of trust?

There are a number of factors at play.

When it comes to trusting our employers, pay has a significant influence. More than half (53%) of respondents said ‘employee compensation is not fair’.

Bosses are held back by a variety of factors linked to poor communication, including a lack of open or transparent communication and timely, constructive feedback.

The top 10 factors influencing lack of trust globally
Image: EY

Quality of work is the biggest factor driving a lack of trust in colleagues. A lack of communication and collaboration were also named as issues.

The result? A low level of trust would drive 42% of respondents to look for a new job. Nearly a third would only do the minimum number of hours, while over a quarter would be less engaged and productive.

Can businesses do anything about it?

The report suggests a number of areas that can help to generate trust. Two-thirds of respondents see delivering on promises as an important factor.

Job security and fair compensation and benefits are also important for around two-thirds. Communication and ethics play a role for more than half of those involved in the survey.

Factors influencing high levels of trust
Image: EY

Increasing trust makes good business sense as well, say the authors. Workers say if they had high levels of trust they’d be more likely to be ‘happier in their jobs’, ‘do higher quality work’ and ‘recommend the company to others’.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

How young workers can thrive with AI when they have the right skills

Peter Brown, Kathy Parker and Harriet Newlyn

July 15, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Sign in
  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum