According to the report, 93% of Americans still aren’t pursuing their dream career, and a smaller but still alarming percentage admit that they are unhappy with their current positions.
“Shockingly, only 7% of Americans surveyed stated they were in their dream career — which is very little,” the authors wrote. “In fact, a fifth of Americans admitted to being unhappy in their current role (19%).”
The respondents cited feeling too comfortable, not wanting to give up the benefits that they currently have at their job, a lack of confidence, and not having enough experience as the primary reasons why they’re not actively looking for a more desirable gig.
Where are the happy workers?
In addition to putting a number to the unhappy workers, the folks over at Moneypenny were also able to determine which industries and states had the most satisfied ones.
Respondents who work IT jobs seemed to be the happiest in their careers (73%), while those who work in energy and utilities were the unhappiest (42%).
“It is not surprising, then, that people claimed IT was one of the top sectors they’d like their dream career in,” the authors said.
Not all of the most coveted careers corresponded with high satisfaction rates, though.
For instance, the five most desired industries were creative arts and design; health care; accounting, banking, and finance; business, consulting, and management; and information technology — but only two of these industries were associated with the happiest employees (health care and accounting, banking, and finance).
Regionally, Rhode Island is home to the highest percentage of unhappy workers across the U.S. (50% unhappy), and Minnesota reported the highest percentage of happy workers (80% happy).
These states had the highest percentage of people who were unhappy at work:
1. Rhode Island
2. South Dakota
4. South Carolina
These eight states had the highest percentage of happy workers:
6. West Virginia
Why the change of heart?
“Sometimes it can take things happening outside of work for us to realize how unhappy we are in our current role,” the authors wrote. “And the pandemic is one of those factors; it’s made people think twice about their careers. Because when the world is in disarray, we need a job that brings happiness to our day-to-day, not the opposite.”
The Great Resignation, the name coined for the increasing reports of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in 2019, has taken on a new context in 2021. Where Americans initially saw the country’s remote work movement as an opportunity to shift careers before the world returned to normal, many are now beginning to acclimate to the idea that the world we’re currently experiencing is the new normal — or at least a beta version of it.
This realization likely comes with some internal concessions. It may be difficult to determine if you dislike your current job or if you only dislike the pandemic version of your current job.
“Don’t focus on what you’re running from, figure out what you’re running toward. Why do you want to launch this new career?” said Robin Pou, an adviser for executives and entrepreneurs who are changing careers.
Pou recommended asking yourself what you want out of a career before assessing whether or not you have the resources to make it happen. Is your dream job a viable career path in a pandemic era? Do you require schooling to increase your hiring potential? Do you have enough saved to quit your job if you really needed to?
“You’re making a life decision in the middle of a traumatic event where emotions are really high,” Pou said. “Ask yourself if you are making this decision out of emotion or out of rational thought.”