In the final year of the Hard Hat Index, Sainsbury Management Fellows (SMF) is pleased to announce that there has been a 37% drop in the use of hard hats in articles in engineering magazines that were monitored between March 2018 and April 2019. This year’s Hard Hat Index recorded 84 images of hard hats in editorials compared to 133 editorials with images of hard hats in the 2018 Index.
SMF launched the Hard Hat Index to highlight the fact that hard hats have become synonymous with the engineering profession, and to raise a debate about how the industry can create more realistic, diverse and exciting representations of engineering jobs.
SMF President, David Falzani MBE said, “The launch of the Hard Hat Index was supported by independent research conducted by YouGov for SMF. The nationwide survey asked 2,000 respondents what items they thought engineers primarily wear on an average workday and the hard hat came top with 63% of votes, whereas, a business suit received just 25% of votes. Engineers were seen to work mainly on building, construction and industrial sites – a far cry from reality. The Hard Hat Index was conceived to challenge the limited portrayal of engineers in professional media and to start a debate on change.”
The path to this year’s positive editorial result has not been consistent, as the number of hard hats featured in the media annually fluctuated during the life of the Hard Hat Index. Therefore, the 37% fall in editorial hard hats is significant and encouraging – it appears that more creative visuals are being used to promote engineers. Conversely, this year, the use of hard hats in advertising increased by 29% (from 89 to 115) from a five-year low of 89 hard hat images in the professional media. Still some work for the industry to do in this area!
David Falzani concluded: “The Index has given Sainsbury Management Fellows, the opportunity to raise awareness of the problem of making engineers synonymous with hard hats. We would like to thank those in the media and the engineering profession who have been supportive of the issue. It is particularly heartening to see the Royal Academy of Engineering’s ‘This is Engineering Campaign’ bring the diversity and excitement of engineering jobs to life and help to change perceptions about engineering.”