A new study has revealed what people are likely to think of us, based on our job.
Using Google autocomplete suggestions for 131 professions, the results reveal a somewhat depressing – and sometimes funny – snapshot of how we perceive one another. The study, launched by Stormline to challenge negative job stereotyping, revealed:
Developers are grumpy, designers are pretentious and project managers are important – according to the data
Bloggers and YouTubers are viewed as annoying, while writers are viewed as depressed
The most common assumption about people – based on their job – is that they earn too much or are unexpectedly rich. This applied to 27% of professions, including developers and designers
18 professions (14%) are perceived as rude, the second most common stereotype
10 (8%) professions are perceived as arrogant
Two professions were depressed, two were hated and two were grumpy
Attractiveness, or more specifically being ‘hot’ was the only positive stereotype that appeared frequently
The researchers, working on behalf of workwear brand Stormline, painstakingly recorded the top autocomplete results for queries about jobs that started with “why are…” and “why do…”.
Most assumptions were about money
The most common personality stereotypes were broadly negative
Some were less negative
Some appeared to show a degree of concern
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, anaesthetists, 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.
Case Study – Genevieve Kurilec, commercial fishing captain
Genevieve Kurilec is a commercial fishing captain, she believes the more people in stereotype-busting roles, the better:
“In my experience women tend to be more safety conscious and detail oriented, which makes us an excellent asset to any crew working in a dangerous occupation.
“If you do your job, put in your time and take care of your vessel you will earn the respect of your fellow fishermen, gender notwithstanding.”