Using Google autocomplete suggestions for 131 professions*, the results of a recent study by wet weather gear brand Stormline, reveal the assumptions and stereotypes we hold about one another, according to the work we do.
The findings show that almost professional stereotypes, from bus drivers to web developers, are negative. In general, the first thing we assume about someone based on their job is that they earn more than they should.
The second thing we assume, is that they are arrogant.
Other common assumptions we make are the people in certain professions are rude and not as important as they think themselves. View the full Stormline study.
Tech industry snapshot:
According to the research, web developers are grumpy, designers are pretentious and project managers are important. Meanwhile, bloggers were viewed as annoying people who get free stuff and YouTubers viewed as annoying.
Creative and academic industries snapshot:
Musicians and writers are viewed as depressed among other things, according to the data, while academics are considered arrogant and professors as liberal.
What’s behind the research?
Stormline have been exploring professional stereotypes for the past two years, looking into opportunities for industries to improve their reputations and remove barriers to participation.
The team were inspired to investigate this area because the professions to whom they supply equipment and wet weather gear, namely engineering, fishing and farming, are historically considered male-orientated, harsh environments. These stereotypes provide real problems for the industries.
Engineering has a 7% female participation rate and according to recent studies, is facing an impending skills shortage.
The UK STEM professions 1.82 million new people by 2022, according to Dame Prof. Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Most professional stereotypes were about money
|Expensive||Paid so much||Earn so much||Rich|
|Builders||Accountants||Recruitment consultants||Property developers|
|designers||Train drivers||Train drivers|
|DJs||Tube drivers||Tube drivers|
The most common personality stereotypes were broadly negative.
Some were less negative
Some appeared to show a degree of concern
|Chefs||Engineers||Hair stylists||Bus drivers||Social workers||Musicians|
|Landlords||Fashion designers||Office workers||Developers||Bankers||Writers|
Although some of the results may be amusing, there’s a serious message behind the research. Stormline are trying to challenge all types of stereotyping in the workforce, from assumptions about gender to mental health.
Regan McMillan, Director of Stormline, who supply unisex wet weather gear to a range of industries, including engineering, explains the inspiration for the study:
“We did this research to see if perceptions of jobs could be making them unattractive to otherwise ideal candidates.
“The industries we work with all suffer from stereotyping and those stereotypes can put talented people off pursuing great careers in industries that need them.
“According to this study, engineers are boring and weird, farmers are poor and people in forestry have beards and wear check shirts.”
“Some of the stereotypes were funny, but if people truly think you need to be female to be a receptionist, or that lumberjacks really all have beards, there’s clearly an issue with inaccurate stereotyping and some of it is gender-driven.
“Previous research we’ve conducted has shown that 1 in 5 women would expect to be patronised if they worked in a male-dominated industry like engineering, where women represent just 7% of the workforce. This is just one of a number of invisible barriers to entry.
“With this research, we wanted to show just how ridiculous some of these stereotypes are.”
Dentists, designers, web developers, MPs, train drivers, DJs and even dental hygienists – for whom the average salary is just under £28,000**, just slightly over the UK’s average salary of £26,500*** – are perceived as overpaid or expensive, according to the data.
36 of the professions were of questionable importance.
Enough people have historically Googled ‘Why are *profession*’ for Google to offer it as an autocomplete suggestion. This applies to accountants, anesthetists, baristas, beekeepers, bloggers, engineers, paralegals, project managers, researchers teachers and teaching assistants.
Rude and arrogant
18 of the jobs were stereotyped as rude and 10 were deemed to be arrogant – and it isn’t just those in prestigious roles – like bankers, academics and scientists – that we consider arrogant. Google suggested ‘arrogant’ for electricians, developers and even paramedics when typing in ‘Why are…’
Attractiveness, or more specifically being ‘hot’ was the only positive stereotype that appeared frequently. Good news for tattoo artists, musicians, firefighters, dental hygienists, bartenders and soldiers – all of whom are considered hot by Google.