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Engineering increasingly regarded as desirable career

New research has revealed a 19% increase in those who would recommend engineering as a profession to children, family or friends.

Echoing the advice given to Dustin Hoffman’s character in: “The Graduate”, there is a great future in engineering.

The research, conducted by Turquoise Thinking for the Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) found that there had been a 19% increase in the number of people who would recommend a career in engineering since June 2008.

Engineering is regarded as a “desirable” or “very desirable” career by 8% more of the general public and a 6% more of parents and guardians compared to June 2008.

ETB chief executive Paul Jackson, said: “Whilst we must not be complacent, there does seem to have been a significant increase in the number of people who see engineering as desirable or very desirable, and would recommend it as a career to their family and friends.

“There are many probable reasons for this positive shift in attitudes, from high profile engineering projects like the Olympics to the marked shift away from ‘financial engineering’ and towards ‘real engineering’ amongst the powers that be. The only thing we know for certain is that 62% of teachers, tutors and careers advisors, 35% of the general public and 30% of 11-16s have seen or heard something positive and inspiring about engineering in the past year.

“As a community, we must pull together to increase this promising trend, paying particular attention to targeting the Under 16s who remain our biggest challenge in terms of engagement,” he said.

Part of the ETB’s annual Engineers and Engineering Brand Monitor, just 5% more of 16-24 year olds were found to regard engineering as desirable or very desirable. However, these positive shifts in perceptions of engineering have not yet filtered down to the Under 16s, of whom only 18% considered engineering to be desirable or very desirable.

The least positive attitude towards engineering was amongst 7-11s with 49% believing being an engineer would be ‘boring’ and preferring more immediately visible careers such as teacher, footballer and doctor. Having said that however, the number of 7-11’s claiming they would categorically not want to be an engineer has dropped significantly from 70% to 60%.  

Key Findings:

  • 62% of education professionals, 35% of the public and 30% of 11-16s have seen, heard of, or visited something in the past year that presented engineering in a positive way and inspired them
  • 85 % of the general public would recommend a career in engineering to their family, friends or children compared to 66% in 2008
  • 62% of parents and guardians view engineering as a desirable or very desirable career compared to 56% in 2008
  • 57% of the general public view engineering as a desirable or very desirable career, compared to 49% in 2008
  • 45% of 16-24 year olds view engineering as a desirable or very desirable career, compared to 40% in 2008
  • 49% of 7-11 year olds think being an engineer would be ‘boring’
  • The number of 7-11’s claiming they wouldn’t want to be an engineer has dropped from 70% to 60%

Readers' comments (2)

  • If the salary was onpar with sectors such as medicine and law we wouldnt have to worry about skills shortage. Could someone put all this percentage study on this instead?

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  • I add my voice to the comment above. Engineers' salaries are low compared with other highly skilled professions.

    Also there must be a recognition of the social status of "Engineers". Without any disrespect to other members of the society, any one who does a 1 month training course on fixing electrical cables calls himself an engineer, which makes it "un attractive" and not cool when talking about engineering as a high status profession

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