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Looking for your dream job? These careers are the happiest in America

According to a new survey, only 7% of Americans are in their dream job. Is it any wonder why we’re having a Great Resignation?

Looking for your dream job? These careers are the happiest in America
[Photo: NeONBRAND /Unsplash]
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A year into the pandemic, the Great Resignation arrived. That’s a term coined for the mass exodus of employees from the workforce in search of something better: a shorter commute, a sane work–life balance, a sense of greater purpose or passion. Some analysts saw it coming—after all, there’s nothing quite like the looming threat of death to make you question the hours spent at a soulless desk job. Over the past year, existential crises bloomed.

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According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 11.5 million workers quit their jobs in April, May, and June 2021, and media reports quickly circulated of software developers embracing travel, and restaurant staffers chasing steady nine-to-fives. Some celebrated the escape from toxic bosses, thankless roles, and minimum wages. But despite the semblance of a labor revolution, it seems we haven’t quite bested the beast of work: In a recent survey of Americans, only 7% reported they had their dream career.

The survey, conducted by business communications provider Moneypenny, polled a wide range of U.S. employees on how happy they were with their jobs. Of those, a staggering 93% said they were in roles that didn’t wholly interest them. Nearly a fifth, or 19%, said they were unhappy in their profession, compared to 54% who said they were happy.

But according to Moneypenny, happiness could vary by industry. The firm’s data shows the happiest career sector is information technology, with a majority (73%) of workers reporting positive feelings. And surprisingly, some workers on which the pandemic took the heaviest toll were also among the happiest, such as doctors and teachers.

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The sectors with the largest percentage of happy workers follows:

  • Information technology
  • Accountancy, banking, and finance
  • Public services and administration
  • Teacher training and education
  • Science and pharmaceuticals
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality and events management
  • Transport and logistics

Several of those also topped the list of careers that Americans aspire to, along with the creative arts and design field.

On the other hand, the unhappiest career sector was in energy and utilities, with 42% reporting negative feelings. Surprisingly, other unhappy career paths included those in the sports and leisure industry, as well as farming and agriculture.

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The sectors with the largest percentage of unhappy workers follows:

  • Energy and utilities
  • Public services and administration
  • Law enforcement and security
  • Environment and agriculture
  • Leisure, sport, and tourism
  • Recruitment and HR
  • Business, consulting, and management
  • Law

Moneypenny’s report also broke down happiness by state, with Rhode Island having the most unhappy workers (50%) and Minnesota having the most happy workers (80%).

However, for those who reported unhappiness, a chunk said they were thwarted from switching careers by lack of experience, lack of confidence, or inertia.

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See the full report here.