Engineers want action on status

Engineers want action on status
An exclusive Electronics Weekly survey on the status of engineering in this country has found over 90 per cent of engineers questioned feel undervalued by society. Richard Wilson. Electronics engineers in this country are undervalued by society, the government and their employers. Over 90 per cent of the electronics engineers questioned in the Electronics Weekly survey of reader opinion on the status of engineers in the UK said they felt undervalued by society. An even higher percentage expressed concern over the issue of status. Half of those questioned called on the government to act on the issue of poor status. “Historically we are undervalued. Engineers have always had greasy overalls and a big spanner in their hands. They were servants to the rich. When electronics came along we were simply the same guys doing a similar job,” commented one reader. The survey, which is part of the Recognising the Engineer campaign, canvassed the views of 218 electronics engineers last month. A significant proportion, some 74 per cent, claimed that they were undervalued by their employers. The education system, the attitude of the media and government were all identified as contributing to society’s undervaluing of engineers. However, 40 per cent laid the biggest portion of blame at the doors of company boardrooms and the attitudes emanating from them. Almost 55 per cent called on the government to make Chartered status statutory for professional engineers. This is an option already being considered by Science and Technology Minister John Battle, who has been sent a copy of the survey. Pay is not seen as the main issue. Less than two per cent of the engineers questioned felt that raising salaries would improve the situation. Over two-thirds of those questioned said that the promotion of engineering was not being tackled in schools. Over 40 per cent thought that university and college courses in science and engineering needed restructuring. But it was not just the government and universities which are being asked to do more to tackle the problem of status. Sixty per cent said that institutions, like the IEE, should take a more central role in raising the status of engineering in this country. The winner of the Texas Instruments graphing scientific calculator prize draw for filling in the questionnaire was Adrian Reynolds. See InsideView.


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