Engineering tops the list of professions seen as most vital for economic growth, eclipsing the likes of business leaders, lawyers, doctors and teachers, according to the Create the Future Report, an international survey carried out to mark the award of the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

An overwhelming majority of the public in each of the 10 global centers for engineering surveyed—including the U.S., Germany, Japan, Turkey, India and Brazil—agree that engineering has driven progress in society in the past and will do so in future. The top five challenges those surveyed feel engineering could improve renewable energy, computer technology, infrastructure, healthcare and online security.

Those surveyed from developing countries showed not only an appreciation for engineers' contribution to innovation and economic development, but also for engineering's potential as a career choice. In India and Turkey, approximately 80% of 16-17-year-olds say they are interested in engineering as a career.

Although interest in engineering lags behind interest in other STEM subjects, the gap is narrower in BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) surveyed. In India, 99% are interested in other STEM subjects and 83% in engineering. That compares the U.K. where the figures stand at 89% and 43%, respectively.

Survey respondents in the U.S. were most confident in the opportunities that exist for engineers. The U.S. was followed closely by Germany and India. However, respondents in countries such as South Africa and Brazil felt the opportunities match their growing interest in engineering.

Other findings include:

• 71% claim that their country’s engineers do not receive the recognition they deserve for their contribution to society.

• While more men than women in all countries show an interest in engineering, the gap in interest is smallest in emerging economies such as India, Turkey, China and Brazil. The U.K., Japan and South Africa show the greatest difference between men and women.

• Respondents in eight of the 10 countries surveyed believe solving the world’s problems is the top priority for engineering in future—Japan and Turkey being the exceptions.

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