The majority of New Zealanders have had their trust broken at work and most don't believe their co-workers have their back.

Jobs website Seek conducted research on trust in the workplace and found only 31 per cent of New Zealanders trusted all of their colleagues.

Fifty-four per cent of people have had their trust broken by a colleague and people who have had their trust broken were significantly less likely to trust their co-workers.

Hearing workmates say negative things about others was the top reason to lack trust in the workplace, the survey found.


The "political" nature of the work environment, like secrecy, favouritism and strategic game playing, was the second biggest reason to not trust your co-workers.

General manager of Seek NZ Janet Faulding said the number of people who trusted all their colleagues was surprisingly high.

Faulding said 17 per cent of people trusted everyone in their company. She said this was surprising given that a lot of people worked closely with just a handful of colleagues.

"It is interesting to see the Seek research highlight that only 22 per cent of employees trust colleagues more senior than them, which could prove challenging for leaders who are trying to motivate and guide teams.

"Encouragingly 37 per cent of employees in New Zealand said they trust colleagues at the same level as themselves."

Junior colleagues were most likely not to be trusted, with 4 per cent of people surveyed saying they were more likely to trust junior colleagues.

The survey was conducted by Survey Sampling International with 4000 New Zealanders interviewed and data weighted to be nationally representative.