The public is now less worried about executive remuneration and more anxious over business behaviour in relation to tax avoidance, the latest survey of public opinion conducted for the Institute of Business Ethics by Ipsos MORI shows report Harris & Co accountants Northampton. In the survey, which was published today, there are also indications of an improvement in the proportion that think business is behaving ethically since 2012, bringing it back in line with 2011 figures.
But there is also an increase in the proportion which believes businesses are behaving less ethically than in 2003 - the results show that 37% of respondents thought tax avoidance was the main concern that businesses need to address, compared with 30 % of respondents citing remuneration.
This pushed remuneration out of the top slot for the first time in six years. The ability of employees to speak out about company wrong doing was rated the third most significant concern at 22% with business attitudes to the environment and human rights coming in significantly lower at 16% and 15% respectively.
The findings show that older people, aged 55 and above, are more likely to think that business is not behaving ethically than younger people.
Commenting on the results, Philippa Foster Back OBE, IBE’s Director, said that the results could indicate that business has clawed back some of the public trust lost in the wake of the financial crisis.
‘But confidence remains fragile with a year on year increase in those saying that business is less ethical than it was ten years ago. Tax is also now clearly a reputational issue and has risen very rapidly up the scale. Trust cannot be taken for granted,’ said Foster.