The pressure is now on CEOs to lead on change and 80% of participants in the survey said CEOs should be visible discussing policy with external stakeholders or work their company has done to benefit society.
Australians also expect CEOs to inform and shape conversations around subjects specifically related to jobs and the economy (72%), wage inequality (72%), technology and automation (68%), prejudice and discrimination (64%) and climate change (61%). However, CEOs are expected to stay out of politics.
The barometer also found that for most people the quality of information they are given by business – and other institutions – is imperative for building trust.
The report found that Australians want business to be doing more, not less, when engaging on all societal issues with 44% saying business should be doing more when it comes to climate change, compared with 10% who think business is overstepping when it comes to the environment.
Employers continue to enjoy strong levels of trust with their employees, with nearly three-quarters of Australian employees (74%) saying they trust their employer, compared with 58% who trust business in general. Employers’ communications are also highly trusted (70%), eclipsing communications from government (63%), media reports with named sources (58%) and advertising (51%).
Additionally, the report found that Australians see business and NGOs as more unifying than those who consider these institutions playing a dividing role.