Remember that first dream job you had growing up? Mine was to be a major league baseball player before those dreams quickly faded when I realized I wasn’t even the best baseball player on my block. Whatever career aspirations we had as a child has likely changed dramatically as we age.
A recent survey of the American public by MidAmerica Nazarene University took a deeper look at the American dream job in 2018. Their goal was to provide a clearer picture of the average American dream job in 2018. They also wanted to see if it was actually possible for most Americans to be able to achieve their dream job and how much money the typical American dream job would provide. To find the answers to these questions, they recently surveyed 2,000 people from all across America and asked them everything about their ideal job, from salary to location, industry, perks and more.
Here’s what they found:
Only 25% of all Americans say they’re at their dream job currently. They found that the people most likely to have their dream job had a high salary, had a doctoral degree or higher, lived in the Southwest area of the country and were of the Baby Boomer generation.
41% of the surveyed respondents wanted to be business owners when asked about their dream job. However, the majority of those respondents wanting to be business owners said they that would be unwilling to own their business it if required them to work more than 60 hours per week. (25% of American small business owners currently work over 60 hours per week. As you can see expectations and reality don’t always align closely when it comes to dream jobs.
Listed below are the traits that Americans are looking for in their dream job:
- Location – California
- Commute – Most Americans preferred to drive to work if given the choice
- Distance – Most Americans would prefer to commute less than 2 miles to work
- Hours – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Industry- The entertainment industry was the top choice for dream jobs which shows people struggle to give up that dream of working in Hollywood and becoming famous
- Travel for work – Twice a month on average
- Relationships with coworkers – Most Americans would prefer that they stay strictly professional
- Lunch break duration – 1 hour
- Company size – Fewer than 30 people
- Paid time off per year – 52 days (currently the average American worker only gets 15 days per year). This is another instance where expectations vs reality are very far apart for most American workers.
- Average work week – 38 hours (currently the average American workweek is 47 hours)
- Option to work remotely – 11 days per month (currently the Average American worker gets less than 6 days)
The survey also looked at salary. The only thing that stood out very quickly was the difference in the salary gap between men and women and their expectations for salary in a dream job. Men wanted $444,985 for a yearly salary, where women wanted $278,637. That’s a difference of $166,321. That’s a huge gap and plays into the gender pay gap stories that have dominated the news cycle as of late.
To see the full analysis of Americans dream job, check out the infographic from MidAmerica Nazarene University below.