Being a business owner means talking a good game about ethics. But honestly, not everyone walks the walk. The stats are kind of depressing – only 14% of workers worldwide feel like their company has a genuinely strong ethical culture. In the US, it’s barely better at 21%.

Clearly, a lot of businesses have work to do when it comes to actually living and breathing those ethical values they preach. Here’s the lowdown on some business ethics statistics that might get you thinking.

Key Business Ethics Statistics & Numbers

  • 52% of Americans say they have boycotted a company because of unethical business practices. 
  • 10.7% more profit is generated by businesses with high ethical standards as opposed to those without.
  • 56% of employees believe companies with strong ethics perform better in the long run.
  • 54% would accept a lower-paying position to work for a more ethical company.
  • There is a 467 percent greater likelihood that organizations with robust cultures will have a positive effect on their employees than those with feeble cultures.
  • 14% of employees across the globe were employed by ethical businesses.
  • 21% of U.S. employees worked in workplaces with a strong ethical culture.
  • 40% of employees who observe unethical behavior report it.
  • 63% of customers want to see more ethical business practices.
  • 84% of consumers think about a company’s ethics and values before making a purchase.

Sources: (Marketing Charts, Steering Point, Marquette, Ethics & Compliance Initiative, FactoHR, Ethics, Gallup, Marketingdive, Netimperative)

Unethical Practices Lead to Boycotts

52% of Americans say they have boycotted a company because of unethical business practices

More than half of American adults have straight-up ditched a business because of shady practices. It’s like, we’re not just buying stuff anymore, we want companies to actually align with our values. Another survey showed that 1 in 4 Americans are actively boycotting something right now, mostly because of where companies throw their money in politics. 

And it’s not just a feeling—there’s been a huge increase in boycotts over the years. We’re putting our money where our mouth is! ✊

Source: Marketing Charts

Ethics Linked to Higher Profits

10.7% more profit is generated by businesses with high ethical standards as opposed to those without

Being a good company actually PAYS OFF.  Studies show that businesses that care about ethics can be way more profitable. Like, the Institute of Business Ethics found they can make 10.7% MORE than shady companies. 

Another group, Ethisphere, saw “ethical” companies straight-up crushing it in the stock market. Plus, most people (71%!) actually want businesses to be upfront and honest. We’re voting with our wallets, and ethical companies are winning!

Source: Steering Point

Employees Value Strong Ethics

56% of employees believe companies with strong ethics perform better in the long run

56% of workers believe that ethical companies do better in the long run.  And they’ve got proof to back it up! Companies known for being ethical actually beat out standard companies by almost 25% over five years. 

Plus, companies with strong ethics kill it across the board, outperforming others by like 40%! The numbers don’t lie – being ethical is just good business.”

Source: Marquette

Sacrificing Pay for Ethical Work

54% would accept a lower-paying position to work for a more ethical company

54% of people would seriously take a pay cut to work somewhere with better values. That’s nuts, but it shows how much ethics matter to people looking for jobs these days.

It’s not just a feeling, either.  93% of workers think companies need to focus on more than just making money.  Almost 70% flat-out wouldn’t work for a company that doesn’t have a good reason for existing. 60% would even take less cash if it meant working for a company that does some good.

Plus, employees want companies to actually care – like, 95% want their company to benefit everyone involved, not just whoever owns shares.  And if a company’s got that whole “purpose” thing figured out, 92% of its employees will happily recommend working there.

Bottom line:  Ethics and having a sense of purpose are becoming just as important as a paycheck for a lot of us.

Source: Marquette

Strong Culture Improves Employee Lives

There is a 467 percent greater likelihood that organizations with robust cultures will have a positive effect on their employees than those with feeble cultures

Companies with good vibes are WAY more likely to have happy employees. Like, 467% more likely! That’s HUGE.  A strong culture means people actually like their jobs and feel good about what they do.

Those companies also make a TON more money – like 4 times as much! Even those “best places to work” lists? Their stocks totally outperform the average. We’re talking crazy returns. Plus, when people are into their work, customers notice – ratings go up, and sales jump by like 20%!

Source: Ethics & Compliance Initiative

Ethical Companies Remain Rare

14% of employees across the globe were employed by ethical businesses

Only 14% of workers worldwide work at companies that are actually considered ethical. That’s kind of messed up, right? Like, most of us are out there working for places that don’t really care about fair pay, the environment, or just being honest.

And it gets worse – this EY report in 2022 showed that more and more people are straight-up okay with lying at work. 15% would fake financial stuff, up from 3% two years prior.Here’s the thing, though – almost everyone (94%!) says working for an ethical company is important to them.  So what gives? Companies need to catch up with what their employees actually care about.

Source: FactoHR

US Workplaces Need Ethical Boost

21% of U.S. employees worked in workplaces with a strong ethical culture

So only about one in five workers in the US (21%) actually feel like their company has a strong sense of ethics. That’s…not great.  Companies with real ethics, where they actually care about honesty, taking responsibility, that kind of thing – those seem pretty rare.

And get this– apparently, companies that actually DO have good ethics do way better across the board. Their employees stick around longer, and customers are way happier.But here’s the wild part – something like 87% of people say their workplace is MISSING that whole strong ethical culture thing. It makes you realize how special it is when you find a company that gets it right.

Source: Ethics

Reporting Unethical Behavior Rises

40% of employees who observe unethical behavior report it

Only 40% of people actually report the shady stuff they see at work. That’s a huge difference between knowing something’s wrong and doing something about it. 

And it gets worse – it seems like 84% of employees who felt pressured to cut corners on the job also saw someone else doing something wrong. On top of that, 65% of workers worldwide have seen at least one messed up thing at work in the last year.🤯

The weird part is, even though so many people see unethical stuff happening, more people are reporting it than ever before (like 72%!) 👍. That’s definitely a good trend,  but it still shows there’s a big gap between seeing wrongdoing and speaking up.

Source: Gallup

Customers Demand Ethical Practices

63% of customers want to see more ethical business practices

Apparently, 63% of people actually care about what a company stands for before they buy stuff from them. They want brands to share their values and ditch the ones that don’t.

It gets even crazier—62% want companies to actually do something about social issues, the environment, and all that stuff. And get this, 74% want companies to be straight-up about how they do business, like if their stuff is made ethically.Another thing, some studies even found out that a whole third of us are down to support brands that are trying to be sustainable.

Source: Marketingdive

Ethics Influence Consumer Choices

84% of consumers think about a company's ethics and values before making a purchase

84% of people actually care about a company’s ethics before buying their stuff. They want companies to be decent, you know? And it gets real –  41% of people have straight-up stopped buying from companies they don’t vibe with ethically.

But that’s not all!  80% of people are more loyal to companies that are good peeps, and 87% are more likely to buy something if the company cares about the same issues they do. Wild, right?

Basically, companies have to be good these days, or people will take their business elsewhere. Seems like doing the right thing is good for business too. #winning

Source: Netimperative

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