Engineers are the fifth most trusted profession in the UK according to the 2019 Ipsos MORI Veracity Index, the longest-running poll on trust in professions in Britain.
According to The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which worked with Ipsos MORI on the poll, 86 per cent of the population trust engineers to tell the truth. This puts engineers just behind nurses, doctors, dentists and teachers in the list of most trusted professions.
The research, which is based on face to face interviews with a sample of 1020 adults across the UK, found that reasons for trusting engineers include being experts on the things that they talk about (49 per cent) and that they turn theory and ideas into things that work in reality (41 per cent).
This year’s survey also asked participants what they think an ‘engineer’ does, giving them a list of options to choose from. A total of 54 per cent described them as someone who builds bridges, roads or railways, with 49 per cent as someone who designs things for the future, whilst 47 per cent described engineers as problem solvers. Encouragingly, the perception of engineers as people who wear dirty overalls and hard hat appears to be on the wane, with just 13 per cent of respondents choosing this description.
Commenting on this year’s findings Mamta Singhal, design engineer and spokesperson for the IET, said: “Engineers play a central role in everyday life and contribute to advancing the world around us and finding solutions to global challenges. It’s fantastic to see that nearly 9 in 10 people trust engineers – this demonstrates the huge level of professionalism and importance of engineers in the UK.
“It’s positive to see the reasons why they are trusted and to know that the stereotypical image of an engineer in a hard hat and dirty overalls isn’t what an engineer means to most people. This will help us to further shift outdated perceptions of engineers and the work that they do, encouraging the next generation into an inspiring and rewarding career.”
Other professions didn’t fare so well. Unsurprisingly, politicians are at the bottom of this year’s table and are trusted by just 14 per cent of respondents. They are closely followed by ad execs (17 per cent), government ministers (17 per cent), journalists (26 per cent) and estate agents (30 per cent).