Edelman Trust Barometer: Unemployment, fake news worry Singaporeans

A new report reveals that the dark cloud of COVID-19 continues to loom over Singapore, and it's affecting trust in media and businesses.

A newly released Singapore edition of Edelman's Trust Barometer shows a whopping 88 per cent are worried about job loss due to causes such as an impending recession, immigrants who work for less, the freelance/gig economy, and lack of training or skills.

Singaporeans also expect CEOs to lead from the front, with more than nine in ten employees expecting business leaders to speak out on issues of the day, including training for jobs of the future, the impact of automation on jobs, diversity, and the ethical use of technology. Among the general population, there is also an expectation that CEOs will step forward to lead change, instead of waiting for the government to impose it.

This also points to an overall fear or mistrust of tech. Nearly three-quarters of respondents think that technology will make it impossible to know if what people are hearing or seeing is real while one-third says the government does not understand emerging technologies enough to regulate them effectively. Globally, Singapore's trust in tech declines by eight points, more so than the US and Australia.

In businesses, a massive 87 per cent think stakeholders, not shareholders, are most important to long-term company success., while 71 per cent say a company can take actions that both increase profits and improve conditions in communities where it operates.

Interestingly, 77 per cent in Singapore think that false information or fake news are being used as weapons, while 59 per cent feel that the media that they consume are contaminated with untrustworthy information. The former statistic is up by eight points from the year before.

However, traditional media and search engines are most trusted while owned and social media are least. When it comes to most trusted experts or sources, academicians or company technical experts score highest, while entrepreneurs and journalists are least trusted.

Similar to global patterns, Singapore too shows a 'mass-class' trust divide where issues around income inequality affect trust more so than economic performance. This goes hand-in-hand with the precarious position of capitalism itself, as 54 per cent in Singapore think capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good.

Moving forward, stats show that businesses and government have to work together and lead in parallel. This includes tasks such as upskilling and retraining the workforce, protecting workers in the gig economy, and reducing workplace prejudice and discrimination.


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