Engineers and doctors the most trusted professionals, public poll finds

Engineers and doctors the most trusted professionals, public poll finds

01 March 2018 at 14:52
  • Shortage of engineers could compromise delivery of the €116 billion National Development Plan
  • A new barometer report Engineering 2018 launched as part of Engineers Week

Thursday, March 1, 2018: A new public poll, commissioned as part of the Engineering 2018 report, has found that the most trusted professionals in Ireland are engineers and doctors. 90% of Irish adults trust engineers to tell the truth and, of the 10 professions listed, only doctors are more trusted. Engineering 2018, a new report about the engineering profession in Ireland, was published by Engineers Ireland as part of Engineers Week and also showed that 91% of Irish adults regard engineers as highly competent, and that they are able to apply expertise in their daily work.

Additionally, industry demand for engineering talent has seen graduate engineer starting salaries increase by 11% in the past four years, new figures within the report reveal. There has also been a 4% rise in engineering graduates from undergraduate courses according to the report, including an upturn in civil and building engineering graduates.

While 78% of engineering employers expect their businesses to grow in 2018 and 83% plan to recruit, an inadequate supply of engineering skills to meet the needs of industry remains a concern, according to the Engineering 2018 report. Employers also pinpointed skills such as communication, attention to detail and teamwork as more important than technical competencies for the modern engineer.

Engineers Ireland Director General, Caroline Spillane said while engineers were now in high demand, Ireland was still suffering from an acute shortage of engineering skills that could undermine the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 goals.

“This report demonstrates the exceptionally high levels of trust the public has in engineers as professionals in their daily work. We are seeing new job opportunities for graduates and increasing salaries reflecting this, but there continues to be a shortfall of engineers to meet the needs of industry. Now, more than ever, we need to encourage young people to study engineering, which is essentially the lifeblood to successfully delivering the ambitious new infrastructural and technological initiatives that have been outlined in Project Ireland 2040.”

The Engineering 2018 report also highlighted that, while the economic recession was a challenging time for the engineering sector, the industry has strengthened in recent years with 83% of engineering employers recruiting engineers in 2017 and experiencing particularly strong business growth.

Engineers Week is coordinated by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme and funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme Call. The annual campaign aims to promote engineering as a career choice and the importance of the profession to Ireland. Engineers Week 2018, which features events nationwide and lots of free online resources and activities that are available to download, runs until March 2.

Access the Engineering 2018 report in full.


For more information, please contact:
Anne-Marie Clarke,
Engineers Ireland
Tel: 01 6651307/ 0876920894

Glen McGahern, Q4 Public Relations
Tel: 086 1940057

Editor’s Note:

About Engineers Ireland, Engineering 2018 and STEPS

Engineers Ireland is one of the largest representative bodies in Ireland, with 25,000 engineers. The membership incorporates all disciplines of the engineering profession across public and private industry, academic institutions and engineering students.

The first in a new annual series, Engineering 2018 is a new barometer report developed by Engineers Ireland for the engineering profession in Ireland, capturing trends in engineering employment, perspectives and education. The report this year was based primarily on three surveys conducted between October 2017 and February 2018 with qualified engineers, engineering employers and the general public. These findings were complemented by Engineers Ireland analysis of data collected by key government agencies and public-sector bodies, including the CSO, the HEA, the State Examination Commission and SOLAS.

The Engineers Ireland STEPS programme encourages primary and post-primary students to explore the world of STEM while also promoting engineering as a career choice.

STEPS works in strategic partnership with Science Foundation Ireland on Smart Futures, a collaborative government-industry-education programme promoting STEM careers to post-primary students in Ireland. STEPS is managed by Engineers Ireland and supported by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills, and a number of major engineering employers (Arup, ESB, TII and EirGrid).

Engineers Week 2018 commenced on Saturday 24 February and ends 2 March. While hundreds of events for young people have taken place this week within engineering firms, schools and libraries, many have been curtailed for 1 and 2 March due to adverse weather. Some will be rescheduled. For public queries on Engineers Week contact

About the public survey

The survey was conducted face-to-face by Behaviour & Attitudes between 19 January and 1 February 2018. 1,000 adults (aged 16 and over), statistically representative of the adult population in Ireland (in terms of age, gender, region and socio-economic class), were polled at randomly-chosen sampling points.


Profession Highly competent Trust to tell the truth
Doctors 93% 92%
Engineers 91% 90%
Teachers 91% 88%
Judges 82% 82%
Business Leaders 75% 64%
Journalists 71% 60%
Civil Servants 70% 58%
The GardaĆ­ 67% 58%
Trade Union Officials 67% 54%
TDs 48% 33%