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9 professions with the most unethical people according to Americans

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Some professions just naturally seem to be full of honest and ethical people. From teachers to doctors, we expect good people to work in careers that allow them to help others, for example.

But in the eyes of many, other professions seem more likely to attract the ne’er-do-wells among us.

Gallup recently asked more than 1,000 adults from all 50 states and Washington, DC, to name the occupations they perceive as the most honest and ethical workers. A handful of occupations ended up at the very bottom of the list.

Gallup actually conducts this survey annually, but does not ask the same occupations each year. So we took results from the last two years — the 2021 and 2022 surveys — to create this list.

Based on the surveys from these two years, these are the occupations that people are least likely to say have honest and ethical employees.

1. Lobbyists

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Lobbyist
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Survey respondents rating the honesty and ethical standards of people in this field as “high” or “very high: 5% (from the 2021 survey)

In both the USA and Western Europe, large percentages believe that the political system needs a major overhaul. Many people believe that the role of lobbyists has long had a corrosive effect on government affairs.

So it’s no surprise that only 5% of survey respondents believe that lobbyists are people of high standards.

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2. Telemarketers

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Survey respondents rating the honesty and ethical standards of people in this field as “high” or “very high: 6% (from the 2022 survey)

Anyone who has ever had their dinner interrupted by a telemarketer probably understands why people in this field are not considered honest and ethical by many survey respondents.

If you hate being bothered by unwanted calls, check out “8 Easy Ways to Stop Robocalls.”

3. Members of Congress

US Capitol
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Survey respondents rating the honesty and ethical standards of people in this field as “high” or “very high: 9% (from the 2022 survey)

Take heart, all you senators and representatives: At least your fellow citizens see you as a little less slimy than lobbyists.

Resentment of members of Congress is among the few things that can unite us across the red/blue divide. Almost equal percentages of Democrats and Republicans expressed low opinions about the honesty and ethical standards of people who serve in Congress.

Other low-level occupations

car salesman
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The following are some other professions that many people believe are populated with dishonest and unethical people.

  • car salesmen – 10% (2022)
  • Government officials — 12% (2021)
  • Business leaders — 14% (2022)
  • TV reporters — 14% (2021)
  • Advertising practitioners -15% (2022)
  • The newspaper’s reporters — 17% (2021)