This news comes as the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which worked alongside Ipsos MORI on the poll, announced that 86% of the UK’s population trust engineers, who make up 19% of the UK workforce, to be honest and truthful.
As a result, engineers fall just behind the professions one may expect to be inherently ‘trusted’—nurses, doctors, dentists, and teachers—in the list of most trusted professions.
Face-to-Face Interviews With 1,020 Participants
Ipsos MORI’s research was based on face-to-face interviews with 1,020 adults across the UK. Among the range of reasons given by participants for engineers’ trustworthiness included engineers being experts in the things that they talk about (49%) and engineers being able to turn theory and ideas into things that work (41%) in reality.
The research also found that trust is especially high amongst graduates (95%) due to the vital role they play in filling the increasing need for qualified engineering professionals across the UK.
Mamta Singhal, the spokesperson for the IET and a design engineer by trade, 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.”
Bar graph representing percentage of trust by UK residents of others based on profession. Image Credit: Ipsos.
What is an Engineer?
Ipsos MORI also asked participants what an engineer is to them.
Engineers were most commonly described by participants as people who build bridges, roads, or railways (54%), as people who design things for the future (49%), and as problem solvers (47%), and inventors (28%). Surprisingly, only 13% of participants described engineers as the typical stereotype—people who wear hard hats and dirty overalls.
The Ipsos MORI Veracity Index has been tracking Britons’ trust in key professions since the 1980s. This year marked the second year that engineering has been included as part of the index.
On this, Singhal added, “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 This will help us to further shift outdated perceptions of engineers and the work that they do, encouraging the next generation into an inspiring and rewarding career.”
Unsurprisingly, the usual suspects fared the worst and appeared at the bottom of the trust table. These included journalists, politicians, government ministers, and estate and lettings agents.