Are We Losing Professional Integrity 

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'Integrity' highlighted in greenI have been thinking recently that there appears to be less professional integrity around than when I first started my career in electrical engineering. Recently the IET has also had a discussion around if engineers should sign an engineering equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath. While I’m not necessarily in favour of swearing oaths, it does illustrate that I’m not the only one thinking about integrity and ethics.

When I first started my career,  most professionals seemed to have a genuine interest in putting together the best solutions possible; within their ability and circumstances.  Everything wasn’t perfect, but people took pride in their work and wanted to make sure it was right for it’s own sake.  If things went wrong, they would try to fix it rather than cover it up. Today a lot of engineers seem preoccupied with salary, advancement, and being seen politically as acceptable.  Often I see really unsafe and poorly engineered solutions put forward as normal business practice and accepted without question.

I’m not saying that salary and advancement are un-important, nor that maintaining your integrity and standing up for it when the pack is against you is easy – but have we gone to far and lost something?  While a surgeon may one day want to be head of surgery at a large hospital, would we still expect him first and foremost to be a doctor.  Is it the same with electrical professionals. 

Personally I do feel that we seem to be losing integrity at the expense of … I guess materialism and personal gratification.

What do you think.  Have we lost integrity or do we still have it.  Should integrity even be expected or is looking only to yourself acceptable.



Steven McFadyen's avatar Steven McFadyen

Steven has over twenty five years experience working on some of the largest construction projects. He has a deep technical understanding of electrical engineering and is keen to share this knowledge. About the author

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