Which industries are facing the greatest reputation challenges at the moment?
Despite almost ten years having passed since the financial crisis, the financial services industry continues to be seen as the sector facing the greatest reputational challenge in North America, mentioned by over half (56%) of Council members; ‘there is still too much risk involved; the lingering effects of the global crisis’.
The energy sector also comes under scrutiny (mentioned by 50%), with climate change and alternative energy most mentioned as issues for the sector to address. Nominations for the pharma industry have risen slightly (now 38%). One Council member observes that ‘a handful of players have led folks to believe that this is how all companies operate. One bad apple spoils the bunch’.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the region’s history and geography, mining is nominated as an industry facing reputational challenges by a significant proportion (75%) of Council members interviewed in Latin America. Members say the industry faces complex challenges, needing to balance generating revenue and employment for the region, while mitigating their impact on communities and the environment; ‘through illegal mining, a negative impact was caused to vulnerable sectors, which has generated a collective feeling of rejection.’
In Europe, much as in North America, the financial services industry continues to feel the impact of the financial crisis, mentioned by six in ten (58%) as an industry facing reputational challenges. Council members also mention executive pay, cyber security, and a general lack of trust in banking as issues facing the sector, with members noting that ‘the banks will likely always feature’ because ‘fundamentally, people don’t trust the bankers’.
Mentions of energy have risen since 2016. While climate change and pricing remain issues for the sector to address, the impact of new technology (e.g. electric cars) on energy demand emerges as a new issue for the sector to take action on; ‘if we suddenly get a massive shift to electric cars, even in the next 2, 3 or 5 years…where does that electricity come from?’
The financial services industry continues to struggle in APAC, mentioned by three-quarters (73%) of Council members this year. As in other markets, the legacy of the 2008 crisis continues to impact the sector, with other mentions including mis-selling scandals and negligent consumer lending. In particular, Council members say the sector faces the challenge of communicating complex issues in a clear, succinct way; ‘their working is very opaque. And even when they try and explain, and become transparent, it’s very complex.’ As in other regions, Energy emerges as a sector of concern this year, mentioned by two-fifths (41%) of Council members. Reliability, affordability and sustainability are the key issues to address.
In full: how Reputation Council members around the world perceived each sector's reputation
Methodology: 127 interviews conducted with Reputation Council members between April and August 2017.