Results of the annual Harris Poll measuring public perceptions of 23 professions and occupations, conducted by telephone between July 8 and 13, 2008, by Harris Interactive® among a nationwide sample of 1,010 U.S. adults, indicate that firefighters, scientists, doctors, nurses and teachers are seen as the most prestigious of a list of 23 occupations. Real estate agents, stockbrokers, bankers, accountants and entertainers come at the bottom of the list.
The occupations at the top of the list are:
- Firefighter (57% say “very great prestige”);
- Scientist (56%);
- Doctor (53%);
- Nurse (52%);
- Teacher (52%)
When the numbers for “very great” and “considerable prestige” are added, all of these occupations are very favorably regarded by 74 percent or more of all adults.
Only 15 percent or fewer adults regard the following occupations as having very great prestige:
- Real estate agent/broker (6%);
- Stock broker (10%);
- Banker (15%);
- Accountant (15%);
- Entertainer (15%)
Substantial majorities of adults (from 61% to 83%) believe that these occupations have “hardly any” or only “some” prestige.
Additionally, several occupations are regarded as “very prestigious” by more people this year than they were last year:
- Engineer, up ten points to 40 percent from last year
- Actor, up seven points to 16 percent
- Architect, up five points to 28 percent
- Journalist, up five points to 18 percent
- Union leaders, also up five points to 18 percent
- Banker, up five points to 15 percent.
However, even with these improvements, bankers, actors, union leaders and journalists land near the bottom of the list with “very prestigious” ratings below 20 percent.
Two occupations, which still have relatively high prestige scores, lost more than five points since last year:
- Military officer, down six points to 46 percent
- Doctor, down six points to 53 percent.
So what do you think did the people in the survey get it right or are some missing? Do the ones at the bottom of the list deserve to be there?