Follow for more talkers

Does the ‘dream job’ really exist?

In a recent poll, 54% said they don’t think they’ll ever be in their dream job role or industry.

Avatar photo


Does the dream job exist? (AbacaPress/LucillePellerin via SWNS)

By Alice Hughes via SWNS

Almost half of employed adults believe the dream job doesn't exist - with flexible working topping the list of most wanted requirements.

A study of 2,000 UK workers found 64 percent are not currently in the industry they dreamed of being in, and 71 percent are not in their intended role.

While 46 percent don’t believe the dream job exists, 41 percent also admitted their own ideal career isn’t a realistic goal.


The ultimate role would also need to include the opportunity to travel (35 percent), regular pay rises (45 percent) and not being stuck behind a desk all day (26 percent).

Other things a dream job should entail were no day being the same (25 percent), free food and drink (21 percent) and opportunities to go to events (20 percent), or work in other countries (18 percent).

It also emerged healthcare, creative arts and design, and leisure, sport and tourism are the top industries employed adults’ ultimate career would be in.

But 54 percent don’t think they’ll ever be in their dream job role or industry.


It also found 32 percent of those polled have worked in the hospitality industry at some point and 60 percent were satisfied with the job.

Despite this, 17 percent admitted they see the likes of working in a hotel, restaurant or bar as a ‘stepping stone’ career and 16 percent are under the impression there is a lack of flexibility.

The research was commissioned by Accor, to mark the launch of the UK TV show, 'Fred’s Last Resort' on E4, where young recruits will be put to the test within the demanding industry of luxury hospitality, resulting in one of them winning a life and career-changing role with the brand.

Celebrity maître d'hôtel Fred Sirieix said: “The hospitality industry offers such great opportunities for people, which is why I am still so passionate about it and love it just as much as the first day I started.

“However, the sector has an image problem in the UK and I’m on a mission to change that.

“Too many people see the industry as a stepping-stone at best, but most of them don’t appreciate how rewarding it can be. A true profession!”

The research also found, of the age groups polled, the younger demographic of 18-24-year-olds are most willing to consider a career in hospitality (41 percent).

Nearly three in 10 (29 percent), of 25–34-year-olds also would also consider hospitality, compared to just 16 percent of the population as a whole.

A spokesperson for Accor said: “We all have an idea of what we want to do with our career when we start out, but often end up compromising, whether that’s on the hours, pay or industry itself.

“The research shows that while people think their dream job doesn’t exist, a lot of the things people are looking for in their job now are very achievable, like having flexibility and variety and simply enjoying their day-to-day role.

“It’s true that hospitality has traditionally been poorly perceived in this country, but role models like Fred are doing a great job of changing that.

“There is still a lack of awareness about where a hospitality career can take you, but as the survey suggests, we are seeing more interest from younger generations who are beginning to realize that their aspirations - whether they are about career progression, variety, travel, finances, flexibility or just fun - can be easily met in the right hospitality setting.”

Flexible working topped the list of most wanted requirements. (AbacaPress/LucillePellerin via SWNS)

According to the study, perception and reality often don’t align in our careers, as 32 percent of those polled have less job satisfaction than they thought they’d have.

And 24 percent feel their job isn’t what they expected it would be.

The typical worker has been in their current role for eight years, but 41 percent aren’t earning as much as they’d like to be at this stage.

While 20 percent are frustrated they haven’t progressed further than they have.

Many are also dissatisfied with the number of opportunities they have to travel (39 percent) and how much fun they have at work (36 percent).

The OnePoll survey also found job enjoyment came top of the most important factors to people in their career (63 percent), followed by pay and benefits (61 percent) and flexibility (39 percent).

Fred Sirieix added: “I’ve always worked hard. I’m first in and last out and I attribute a lot of my success to that work ethic.

“That pride in a job well done, and the hard work needed to get there is what I’ve learned in hospitality and for me is the key to career contentment and success no matter what the sector.“


  1. Flexible hours
  2. Strong financial rewards
  3. Regular pay rises
  4. Good employee benefits
  5. The opportunity to travel
  6. A fun team
  7. Varied day-to-day jobs
  8. Not sitting at a desk all day
  9. No day is the same
  10. The opportunity to make people happy
  11. Unlimited vacation
  12. Free food/drinks
  13. Health/dental insurance
  14. The opportunity to be creative
  15. The opportunity to go to events
  16. The opportunity to work in other countries        
  17. Birthday off without having to take annual leave        
  18. Learn on the job        
  19. The opportunity to regularly meet new people        
  20. Discounts via employee benefits    
  21. Casual uniform
  22. The opportunity to learn transferable skills
  23. Speaking face-to-face with people
  24. The opportunity to be proactive
  25. Not just Monday to Friday hours
  26. Quick career progression
  27. Opportunity to earn tips or bonuses
  28. The opportunity to take a sabbatical
  29. Parental benefits
  30. A work car
  31. Team ‘away days’
  32. Having genuine responsibility from early on in your career
  33. Allowed to bring your pet to work
  34. On-site gym
  35. Regular social events with colleagues
  36. The opportunity to meet celebrities
  37. Nap rooms
  38. Planning events
  39. A work phone
  40. The opportunity to work days and nights

Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email [email protected] or submit an inquiry via our contact form.

Top Talkers