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2014

Doctors, Scientists, Firemen, Teachers and Military Officers Top List as 'Most Prestigious Occupations'

Real estate agents, stockbrokers, actors, bankers, union leaders and

accountants have lowest prestige, according latest Harris Poll of U.S. adults



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    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans see doctors,
 scientists, firemen, teachers and military officers as the professions and
 occupations which have the most prestige. At the other end of the spectrum,
 the occupations which are seen as having the least prestige are real estate
 agents, stockbrokers, accountants, bankers and journalists.
     Only two occupations are perceived to have "very great" prestige by more
 than half of all adults, scientists (52%) and doctors (52%). They are followed
 by four professions which are perceived to have "very great" prestige by 40
 percent or more but less than 50 percent - firemen (48%), teachers (48%),
 military officers (47%), nurses (44%) and police officers (40%).
     By way of contrast, the list includes ten occupations which are perceived
 by less than 20 percent to have "very great" prestige. The lowest ratings go
 to real estate agents (5%), stockbrokers (10%), accountants (10%), journalists
 (14%), bankers (15%), actors (16%), union leaders (16%), lawyers (17%) and
 business executives (19%).
     These are some of the results of the annual Harris Poll measuring public
 perceptions of 22 professions and occupations, conducted by telephone between
 August 10 and 15, 2004, by Harris Interactive(R) with a sample of 1,012 U.S.
 adults.
 
     What is prestige?  It's not about money or celebrity
     One conclusion to be drawn from this poll is that there is not much of a
 correlation between making money and having high prestige. Firemen, teachers,
 nurses and police officers all score very well on prestige but are not
 particularly well compensated. At the other end of the spectrum, real estate
 agents, stockbrokers, actors, bankers and accountants can often make
 substantial sums of money, but have little prestige.
     It is also clear that prestige does not mean celebrity. Most celebrities
 are probably actors, entertainers or athletes; and all of these are in the
 bottom half of the list in terms of prestige.
     To judge from these data, it seems that prestige is strongly associated
 with respect, public service and good work. Professions with high prestige are
 those which are widely seen to do great work which benefits society and the
 people they serve - not just doctors, scientists and military officers but
 also firemen, nurses and police officers.
 
     Changes over the last quarter century
     Harris Interactive has been asking about the prestige of different
 professions and occupations since 1977.  Over the 27 years since then, there
 have been some quite substantial changes:
 
      * Those who see teachers as having "very great" prestige have risen 19
        points from 29% to 48%.
      * Those who think lawyers have "very great" prestige have fallen 19
        points, from 36% to 17%.
      * Scientists have fallen 14 points from 66% to 52%.
      * Doctors have fallen 9 points from 61% to 52%.
      * Priests, ministers and clergymen have fallen 9 points from 41% to 32%.
      * Athletes have also fallen 5 points from 26% to 21%.
 
     With the exception of teachers, no occupation or profession on the list
 has improved its ratings since 1977.
 
     Changes since last year
     Most of the changes since last year are relatively small, within a
 possible sampling error for this survey.  The biggest changes are:
 
      * Firemen, down 7 points from 55% to 48% (but still very high).
      * Priests, ministers and clergy down 6 points from 38% to 32% (their
        lowest score we have ever recorded).
      * Scientists down 5 points from 57% to 52% (but still at the top of the
        list).
 
                                    TABLE 1
                   PRESTIGE OF 22 PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS
 "I am going to read off a number of different occupations. For each, would you
  tell me if you feel it is an occupation of very great prestige, considerable
            prestige, some prestige or hardly any prestige at all?"
                                Base: All Adults
 
                                                           Hardly
                          Very                              Any       Not
                         Great    Considerable   Some     Prestige    Sure/
                        Prestige    Prestige    Prestige   At All   Refused
                           %           %           %         %         %
     Doctor                52          32          14        1         1
     Scientist             52          29          15        3         2
     Fireman               48          32          17        2         1
     Teacher               48          22          21        7         1
     Military Officer      47          31          18        2         2
     Nurse                 44          30          20        6         1
     Police Officer        40          28          26        5         1
     Priest/Minister/
      Clergyman            32          25          31       10         2
     Member of
      Congress             31          29          29        8         3
     Engineer              29          38          27        3         3
     Architect             20          35          34        7         3
     Athlete               21          25          37       16         1
     Business              19          29          38       10         4
     Executive
      Lawyer               17          30          37       15         2
     Entertainer           16          25          38       19         2
     Union Leader          16          24          34       23         2
     Actor                 16          21          37       23         3
     Banker                15          26          45       13         1
     Journalist            14          30          39       14         2
     Accountant            10          32          43       14         2
     Stockbroker           10          23          44       21         2
     Real estate
      broker/agent          5          18          45       30         2
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
                    26-YEAR TREND FOR "VERY GREAT" PRESTIGE
  "I am going to read off a number of different occupations.  For each, would
      you tell me if you feel it is an occupation of very great prestige,
      considerable prestige, some prestige or hardly any prestige at all?"
                                Base: All Adults
 
                                                                       Changes
                                                                        since
                     1977 1982 1992 1997 1998 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004  1977
                       %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %    %     %
     Scientist         66   59   57   51   55   56   53   51   57   52   -14
     Fireman           NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   55   48    NA
     Doctor            61   55   50   52   61   61   61   50   52   52    -9
     Teacher           29   28   41   49   53   53   54   47   49   48   +19
     Nurse             NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   47   44    NA
     Military
      officer          NA   22   32   29   34   42   40   47   46   47    NA
     Police
      Officer **       NA   NA   34   36   41   38   37   40   42   40    NA
     Priest/
      Minister/
      Clergyman        41   42   38   45   46   45   43   36   38   32    -9
     Member of
      Congress         NA   NA   24   23   25   33   24   27   30   31    NA
     Engineer          34   30   37   32   34   32   36   34   28   29    -5
     Architect         NA   NA   NA   NA   26   26   28   27   24   20    NA
     Business
      Executive**      18   16   19   16   18   15   12   18   18   19    +1
     Lawyer            36   30   25   19   23   21   18   15   17   17   -19
     Entertainer       18   16   17   18   19   21   20   19   17   16    -2
     Athlete           26   20   18   21   20   21   22   21   17   21    -5
     Union leader      NA   NA   12   14   16   16   17   14   15   16    NA
     Journalist        17   16   15   15   15   16   18   19   15   14    -3
     Accountant        NA   13   14   18   17   14   15   13   15   10    NA
     Banker            17   17   17   15   18   15   16   15   14   15    -2
     Actor             NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   13   16    NA
     Stockbroker       NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    8   10    NA
     Real estate
      broker/agent     NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA   NA    6    5    NA
 
     * No trend; NA not asked
    ** In surveys prior to 2001 we used the words "policeman" (now changed to
       "police officer") and businessman (now changed to "business executive")
       which may account for the changes from 2001 to 2002.
 
 
     Methodology
     The Harris Poll(R) was conducted by telephone within the United States
 between August 10 and 15, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 1,012
 adults (ages 18+). Figures for age, sex, race, education, number of adults,
 number of voice/telephone lines in the household, region and size of place
 were weighted where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in
 the population.
     In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95
 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of 13
 percentage points of what they would be if the entire adult population had
 been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other
 possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more
 serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals
 to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order,
 interviewer bias, weighting by demographic control data and screening (e.g.,
 for likely voters).  It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result
 from these factors.
     These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National
 Council on Public Polls.
 
      J21930
      Q605
 
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive (http://www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide
 market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for
 pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market
 research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Harris Interactive combines
 proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom
 and strategic research. The Company conducts international research from its
 U.S. offices and through wholly owned subsidiaries-London-based HI Europe
 (http://www.hieurope.com), Paris-based Novatris and Tokyo-based Harris
 Interactive Japan -- as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network
 of independent market -- and opinion-research firms. EOE M/F/D/V
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in future online surveys, visit http://www.harrispollonline.com.
 
      Press Contacts:
 
      Nancy Wong
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7316
 
      Kelly Gullo
      Harris Interactive
      585-214-7172
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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