Awareness event challenging the misrepresentation of engineers

This is Engineering Day follows a study finding that 63% of online images of engineers depict a white male wearing a hard hat

High profile engineers and businesses are teaming up in a bid to change the image of engineering.

Today (November 6) is This is Engineering Day, a response to research indicating just how narrowly an engineer is portrayed online. An AI machine learning model studied more than 1,100 online images of engineers, and found that the majority – 63% – featured a white male wearing a hard hat.

“Engineers play a profoundly important role in shaping the world around us – from designing our cities and transport systems, to delivering clean energy solutions, enhancing cybersecurity and advancing healthcare – but that’s simply not reflected in online image searches,” said Dr Hayaatun Sillem, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the organisation behind the initiative.

As well as changing typical perceptions of workers in the sector, This is Engineering Day – being held in the middle of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week – looks to celebrate the contribution of engineers, as well as encourage more young people to consider a career in the profession.

The awareness event is being supported by more than 100 engineering-dependent brands, including the BBC, Facebook, ITV, Transport for London, Ocado, Rolls-Royce and the National Grid. All have signed a pledge to help boost more accurately representative images of engineers and engineering, including the creation of a library of free-to-use images reflecting the diversity of roles and practitioners.


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Other This is Engineering Day events include:

  • Amazon Alexa2  answering questions about the event and the role of engineers, and Amazon running engineering-focused tours and STEM workshops in its warehouses, or ‘fulfilment centres’
  • Network Rail showcasing images of engineers on 60 screens across 15 stations in the UK
  • Facebook and Ocado creating and promoting new engineering video content featuring its engineers
  • Google hosting an engineering takeover at its Portsmouth Digital Garage

“Engineering is everywhere, and This Is Engineering Day gives us an opportunity to shine a light on the people who make possible so many features of modern life that we take for granted,” added Dr Sillem. “I hope that by inviting the public to discover a different side to engineering, we will be able to inspire more people from all parts of society to choose a profession that shapes our world.”

More information on the campaign can be found at ThisisEngineering.org.uk.

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