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Engineers one of the most trusted professions

Engineers remain one of the most trusted professions in Great Britain, according to the latest Veracity Index from Ipsos MORI.

The profession, which makes up 19% of the UK workforce (Source: State of Engineering 2018, Engineering UK, 2018) is trusted to tell the truth by eight in 10 people (84% of the population), ranking it sixth in this year’s index, closely following nurses (94%), librarians (93%), doctors (91%), teachers (86%) and museum curators (86%).

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) worked with the 2021 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 fourth year running.

Trust is especially high amongst Britain’s graduates (93%) and those aged 18–24 (88%) which is a positive step towards increasing the numbers of qualified engineering professionals across the UK and plugging the growing skills gap. Generation X (aged 42–55) also placed higher than some of their generational counterparts with 89% trusting engineers to tell the truth.

Sir Julian Young, IET President, said: “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 mirrors the level of professionalism and importance of engineers in the UK.

“The last two years have highlighted more than ever the vital role engineers play in developing technology and rapid processes, not only to defeat a global pandemic but to keep our infrastructure and economy running.

“I have no doubt that engineering and technological innovation has and will continue to make a huge difference to society, especially in promoting sustainability and dealing with climate change.  This recognition of trust by the public is a welcome boost to all those in industry, academia and our communities working together to address the shortfalls in engineer numbers faced across the UK 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 (16%), politicians generally (19%), Government ministers (19%), journalists (28%) and business leaders (31%).

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 nine professions (lawyers, professional footballers, museum curators, advertising executives, care home workers, home delivery drivers, engineers, landlords of private residential properties and librarians), Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,007 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain by telephone between 29 October and 4 November 2021

For the core list of 21 professions, Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,009 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain by telephone between 5 and 10 November 2021

Data are weighted to the population profile. Where percentages do not sum to 100 this may be due to computer rounding.

Trust in professions

Q1: Now I will read you a list of different types of people. For each, please tell me if you would generally trust them to tell the truth or not?

Base: 1,007 / 1,009 British adults 18+

Trust to tell the truth    Do not trust to tell the truth   Don’t know

Nurses 94% 3% 3%

Librarians 93% 2% 4%

Doctors 91% 8% 2%

Teachers 86% 11% 3%

Museum curators 86% 5% 9%

Engineers 84% 9% 8%

Scientists 83% 11% 6%

Judges 82% 13% 5%

Professors 81% 11% 8%

Care home

workers 76% 14% 10%

Home delivery

drivers 71% 22% 7%

The Police 63% 29% 7%

The ordinary

man/woman in

the street 60% 28% 12%

Lawyers 59% 33% 9%

Clergy/priests 58% 32% 9%

Civil Servants 57% 32% 11%

Television news

readers 52% 38% 10%

Pollsters 49% 31% 20%

Charity chief

executives 49% 40% 11%

Trade union

officials 44% 41% 15%

Local councillors 44% 48% 9%

Bankers 43% 48% 9%

Landlords of private

residential

properties 38% 49% 13%

Professional

footballers 35% 48% 17%

Estate agents 32% 60% 8% 

Business leaders 31% 58% 11%

Journalists 28% 63% 9%

Government

Ministers 19% 75% 6%

Politicians generally 19% 75% 6%

Advertising

executives 16% 75% 9%

Key Regional Statistics – Engineers

Northern England

Engineers tell the truth – 86%

Engineers do not tell the truth – 5%

Don’t know – 9%

Midlands

Engineers tell the truth – 80%

Engineers do not tell the truth – 12%

Don’t know – 8%

Southern England

Engineers tell the truth – 81%

Engineers do not tell the truth – 12%

Don’t know – 8%

London

Engineers tell the truth – 86%

Engineers do not tell the truth – 7%

Don’t know – 6%

Scotland

Engineers tell the truth – 92%

Engineers do not tell the truth – 4%

Don’t know – 4%

Wales (note small base size: 56 participants)

Engineers tell the truth – 83%

Engineers do not tell the truth – 8%

Don’t know – 9%

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