Culture, Engagement, Branding

What’s the Most Important Quality in a Dream Job?

With buzzwords like digital workplace, employee engagement, and workplace wellness being thrown around, it can be hard to keep up with all of the changes, especially now that the employee holds all of the cards. Although many employees are taking advantage of new workplace perks, with the job market in their favor, many employees are leaving their current professions to pursue their dream jobs. But what exactly does that look like?

Happy workersA recent study from netQuote showed that just 20% of workers felt valued at their current job. Many managers know that the key to retention is employee engagement, and with numbers this low, it’s no wonder why so many employees want to jump ship. However, a third of respondents said that their current job had perks like a good location and flexible scheduling, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t eventually leave for greener pastures.

When asked what their dream job would entail, a whopping 87% said that doing meaningful work was at the top of their list. This characteristic was closely followed by creative flexibility, which came in at 82% on the list of wants from a dream job. What came in last? Making more money. But, surprisingly, the second least important characteristic was being their own boss, which might dispel the popular belief that everyone wants to become the next Mark Zuckerberg.

Of the three generations surveyed, millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers took an average of 19 months before leaving to pursue their dream job. And while millennials found their true calling earlier in life, at 22-years-old, the average age each of the generations took to pursue their dream job was 30. But what jobs were they leaving, and what jobs did they want?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the top two industries left were retail/wholesale and hospitality. The high turnover rate coupled with long and sporadic hours could be attributed to the retention problems. However, the finance and insurance industry came in third, which could be attributed to the high-pressure nature of that career path – one that can lead to mental health complications in the long run.

On the flip side, the most sought-after career path led to arts, entertainment, and recreational careers. When referring back to the most coveted characteristics of a dream job, creative flexibility came in second; clearly many American employees crave a certain extent of creative autonomy in their daily work environment. And with the rise of DIY creative culture via social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, it’s no wonder creative freedom is at the forefront of employees’ minds.

But, when all is said and done, are those who leave their current jobs successful? The study shows that 60% of respondent leaps were successful. So the next time you’re imagining what your career might look like if you went after that dream job you’ve been fantasizing about, consider the fact that it might not have to remain a fantasy.

Bethany Morris is a Colorado native interested in the cross between work and life and how your average American navigates those each day.