Doctors are the most prestigious profession, according to a survey of the public's perception of professions, conducted by the Ministry of Science and Technology ahead of Israel Science Day on March 26. 34% of respondents said that doctors were the most prestigious profession, followed by engineers (29% of respondents), and scientists (25%).
The least prestigious professions were religious officials, Members of Knesset, and entertainers. The prestige of all professions, except for doctors, was lower compared with the 2011 survey, with journalists, teachers, cultural and spiritual leaders, bankers, and police officers taking the biggest hits.
Asked what profession they would advise their children or grandchildren to choose, doctor was the first or second choice of 34% of the respondents. The answer belied the number of media reports in the past few years about the financial distress and heavy workloads of doctors. Engineers came in second (29%), and scientists came in third (25%). At the bottom of the recommendations were journalist, entertainer, Member of Knesset, police officer, and banker.
Asked who contributes to Israel's strength, the respondents replied, in descending order: soldiers, scientists, senior doctors, technologists, and senior engineers at companies.
61% of respondents said that knowledge of science and technology was critical or essential in their daily lives. The science issues of greatest public interest are health and medicine, environment, and computers and Internet. 59% of respondents said that the media does not sufficiently cover science issues. Although the media is the public's main source of science information, it is not seen as a reliable source.
56% of respondents said that the government does not invest enough in research and science and technology development. They also said that the government should invest more in education in order to narrow social gaps. 50% of respondents with children aged 6-18 said that their children participated in science activities. 75% of Russian immigrants said that their children participated in science activities.
The average score given by the respondents to Israel's science and technology achievements was high - 7.94 out of 10. This score has risen over the years. 81% of the respondents think that the emigration of scientists harms Israel, and that the government should do more to bring them back home. Just over half of the respondents said that Israel should send another astronaut into space. 61% of men and 53% of women said that Israel should send an astronaut.
"Science is the spark of all technological development in human culture. It designs the future of humanity and the public understands this," said Minister of Science, Technology and Space, Yaakov Perry in response to the survey's findings.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 25, 2014
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