Annual survey reveals young people’s, teachers’ & parents’ attitudes to engineering

20 January 2020

EngineeringUK Engineering Brand Monitor 2019_580x280.jpg

The Engineering Brand Monitor (EBM) is an annual survey of young people, STEM secondary school teachers & the general public on the their knowledge, perceptions & understanding of STEM & engineering.

The latest survey reveals some some encouraging news, as well as some areas that still need more focus:

•    Engineering is highly regarded by STEM secondary school teachers & parents
•    More young people would consider a career in engineering
•    Boys have more positive views of engineering than girls, even in primary school.
•    Salary ranks as an important factor in young people’s career choices, over and above 'enjoyment', 'job security' and 'something that challenges me'.
•    Young people who attend STEM outreach events are more likely to know what engineers do – but only a quarter of those surveyed had been to such an event.

The Engineering Brand Monitor is an annual survey carried out by EngineeringUK, and this year’s results provide cause for optimism, with the proportion of 16 to 19 year olds who would consider a career in engineering increasing significantly since 2016 (45% compared with 37%). Additionally, the majority of teachers and parents, key influencers in young people’s decision making, held positive views of engineering – and 80% of STEM secondary teachers and 68% of parents believed a career in engineering would be desirable for their pupils or children.

The survey of more than 2,500 young people, 1,000 STEM secondary school teachers and 1,800 members of the public also shows compelling evidence that STEM outreach can and does work: young people attending a STEM careers activity in the previous 12 months were over 3 times as likely to consider a career in engineering than those who had not.

However, work is still needed to improve young people’s knowledge, perceptions and understanding of engineering, particularly among girls. There are clear gender differences across the board, with girls being less likely than boys to know about engineering, to view it positively, to consider a career in the industry or know what to do next in order to become an engineer. They are also less likely to believe they could become an engineer if they wanted to.

The survey also reveals issues with how engineering is perceived. For example, engineering lagged behind other STEM subjects with respect to young people’s knowledge of what those working in the industry do and the extent to which they perceive engineering positively and believe it to be a desirable career.

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, said: "The Engineering Brand Monitor provides a unique insight into how STEM is viewed by young people, educators and other influencers.

"The latest results reveal that young people place high importance on ‘having an impact’ and ‘being valued’ when deciding upon a career – STEM outreach should emphasise the great and wide-ranging contributions that engineers make to society.

"As salary also ranks as an important factor for young people when choosing a career, compelling and accurate salary and labour market statistics should be a key part of careers advice and guidance.

"Young people who participate in STEM engagement activities know more about engineering, and those that know more about engineering are more likely to consider a career in it. Given the urgent need we have to encourage more, and more diverse, young people in engineering, we must work together to make sure that every young person has repeated opportunities to be inspired by STEM and engineering."

Data tables accompanying the report are available at: www.engineeringuk.com/ebmdata

The full report is available at: www.engineeringuk.com/ebm


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