Engineers in top three of Britain’s most trusted professions

  • Nine in 10 people (89%) trust engineers to tell them the truth, closely following nurses (93%) and doctors (91%)

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) worked with the 2020 Ipsos MORI Veracity Index, which has been tracking the latest movements in Britons’ trust in key professions since the 1980s, to include engineering for the third year running.

The profession, which makes up 19% of the UK workforce* is trusted to tell the truth by almost nine in 10 people (89% of the population), closely following nurses (93%) and doctors (91%), its highest placing to date since its inclusion in the survey in 2018.

Trust is especially high amongst Britain’s graduates (95%) which is vital because of the need for increasing numbers of qualified engineering professionals across the UK. Generation X also placed the highest level of trust amongst their generational counterparts with 94% trusting engineers to tell the truth.

Dr Peter Bannister, a biomedical engineer and chair of the IET’s healthcare panel, said: “As highlighted this year, engineers play a central role in advancing the world around us and finding solutions to global challenges. The high level of public trust in engineers is a welcome boost and mirrors the level of professionalism and importance of engineers in the UK.

“The Coronavirus outbreak has presented many challenges across the world and has changed life as we know it. Engineers have played a vital role in developing technology and rapid processes to not only keep our infrastructure running but to provide healthcare solutions such as highly efficient ventilators, improve mental health by combatting social isolation, develop remote diagnostics and healthcare tracking apps as well as biomedical engineering which has led to successful vaccine trials.

“It is without a doubt that engineering and technological innovation has and will continue to make a huge difference. The recognition of trust by the public will hopefully be a welcome boost in the fixing the shortfalls faced by the industry by encouraging the next generation of talent, as engineering continues to be a vital profession across the world.”

At the bottom of the trust league are advertising executives (13%), politicians generally (15%), Government ministers (16%), journalists (23%) and estate agents (27%).

 

--ENDS--

*State of Engineering 2018, Engineering UK, 2018.

The Veracity Index is an annual poll that has measured the trustworthiness of professions in Britain since 1983.

This year’s survey was carried out over two waves of a telephone omnibus survey.

  • For a shortlist of six professions (lawyers, professional footballers, museum curators, advertising executives, care home workers and home delivery drivers), Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 957 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain by telephone between 9 and 18 October 2020
  • For the core list of 24 professions, Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 916 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain by telephone between 16 and 25 October 2020

Trust in professions

Base: 957 / 916 British adults 18+ - Data is weighted to the population profile

  Trust to tell the truth (%) Do not trust to tell the truth (%) Don’t know (%)
Nurses 93 6 1
Doctors 91 7 2
Engineers 89 6 4
Teachers 85 11 3
Judges 84 11 5
Professors 83 11 6
Scientists 82 12 6
Museum curators 82 10 9
Care home workers 76 15 9
Home delivery drivers 75 18 7
Police 71 23 6
Lawyers 61 32 8
Civil Servants 60 33 8
Man/woman in the street 57 33 11
Clergy 56 34 9
Economists 53 37 10
Pollsters 53 34 13
Television news readers 50 42 8
Charity CEOs 49 42 8
Trade Union officials 45 45 11
Bankers 44 51 5
Local councillors 42 53 6
Landlords 37 48 15
Business leaders 33 58 9
Footballers 30 56 15
Estate agents 27 67 5
Journalists 23 70 7
Government Ministers 16 78 5
Politicians 15 81 4
Advertising executives 13 82 5

Key Regional Statistics - Engineers

Northern England

  • Engineers tell the truth – 88%
  • Engineers do not tell the truth – 8%
  • Don’t know – 4%

Midlands

  • Engineers tell the truth – 88%
  • Engineers do not tell the truth – 7%
  • Don’t know – 5%

Southern England

  • Engineers tell the truth – 89%
  • Engineers do not tell the truth – 7%
  • Don’t know – 4%

London

  • Engineers tell the truth – 91%
  • Engineers do not tell the truth – 5%
  • Don’t know – 4%

Scotland (N.B. Small base size – 115 participants)

  • Engineers tell the truth – 95%
  • Engineers do not tell the truth – 4%
  • Don’t know – 1%

About the IET

  • We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.
  • We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth means we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • Interview opportunities are available with our spokespeople from a range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and diversity in engineering.
  • For more information, visit www.theiet.org
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Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager
T: +44 (0)7725 498 129
E: hkellett@theiet.org

 

Sophie Lockhart
Senior Communications Executive
T: +44 (0)7872 844 422
E: slockhart@theiet.org