In general Engineering is still perceived as a difficult subject since studies in different countries have shown that aside from Health, all other areas are considered to be easier than engineering by upper secondary education pupils. Although important, the difficulty issue is not detrimental. The fact is that engineering has a positive image and other encouraging aspects that are identified by, not only secondary school students, but by a range of social groups.
High income, exciting job, high status and highly respected are normally positive thoughts from what people think in regards to engineers and engineering. Recent graduate engineers play a key role in presenting an attractive and realistic image of the engineering profession for younger generations. The perception of difficult and academically challenging engineering studies has been the main reason for its decreased interest.
Globally, the impact of engineers on the labour market extends far beyond traditional roles. Each country has its own characteristics and particular social, economic and political contexts, and therefore has differing focuses when analysing the labour market. The statistics from respective countries have to be compared within their contextual circumstances.
One important action point in attracting students to the engineering areas is to show them that it does payoff to be an engineer. Not only in terms of economy capital but also when it comes to social or cultural capital. There also remains a shortage of engineers in several fields so the labour market looks good for most countries. Figures also show low unemployment rates.
In Germany, Ireland and in Portugal engineering is often mentioned in a positive way in relation to the labour market since it has for long been put in relation to a good employment outlook and a high salary. In these countries engineers are also described in a positive way as experts are co-responsible for bringing forward the economy. In Sweden on the other hand, engineers are often considered, by non-engineers, as cold, insensitive technocrats, deeply specialized with highly repetitive work and with little or no social contact.
The perception of engineers in media is different within different parts of Europe. Based on our results the overall picture of engineering in the media is positive.