Only 1 in 4 adults across the UK work in their dream childhood job, Legal & General’s latest research reveals

New research data from Legal & General shows that one in four people (25%) have landed the job they dreamed of as a child. The survey of 2,000 adults across the United Kingdom, which looked at how many people were following the career path they envisaged as a child, found that becoming a teacher was the most popular childhood dream job (11% of respondents), followed by aspirations to be a vet (8%), doctor (7%), or sportsperson (6%).

Other aspirations included being a police officer / detective, musician, or business owner (all 5%). Teachers were the most likely to have achieved their childhood dream job (23%), followed by business owners (7%) and (6%) doctors. 5% of police officers / detectives shared that they had fulfilled their dream, whilst becoming a vet was the dream job most likely to never happen with 10% of aspiring vets never making it into the profession.

What were the findings of Legal & General’s survey?

Women more realistic about childhood careers

According to the latest research from Legal & General, women were more realistic about their childhood career ambitions than men with 16% aspiring to be teachers compared to just 4% of men. Meanwhile, men were far more likely than women to aspire to become professional sportspeople, with 14% selecting this option compared to just 1% of women. Just 2% of those who aspired to be professional sportspeople landed their dream job.

The study found that some respondents’ childhood dreams were driven to pursue a passion, with 30% choosing a job relevant to their hobbies, while 24% were interested in school subjects relevant to their industry. A further 16% said they were inspired by their teachers to follow their childhood ambitions. Meanwhile, 30% of respondents revealed they were inspired by a job or industry featured on TV or in film. 16% chose their job to ‘make them look cool’.

Greater London has high ambition achievers

The Legal & General research findings also revealed regional differences, with the most popular childhood dream in the North East being to become a police officer / detective (13%). Greater London has the highest percentage of people working their childhood dream as a profession (31%), followed closely by the East and West Midlands (29%). Those in the East of England (17%) were least likely to be following their childhood aspirations.

Of those who didn’t follow their dream path, over a fifth (22%) cited a lack of self-belief. But 22% who have not landed their dream job are working in their dream industry. 31% of men chose their current job as it offered a good salary, compared to 21% of women.

People in the East of England were most likely to select ‘location’ as their reason for choosing their current job (20%), while those in Northern Ireland were the least likely (10%). Also, 30% of people were ‘very happy’ in their current job, while 41% were ‘somewhat happy’.

Dream achievers like to stay put

66% of respondents have made or considered making a career change, rising to 74% among 18–24year-olds. But the ‘dreamers’ were much more likely to stay put. Also, almost half (46%) of those who were working in their dream childhood job have not made or considered making a career change. Of those respondents who had previously made or had ever considered making a career change, 15% said this was to pursue their childhood dream.

Regionally, there were various reasons people gave for considering or acting upon a career change. 50% in Wales wanted a better work/life balance, 44% of the South East cited finances and 22% in Yorkshire and Humber cited changing priorities over the pandemic.

What were Legal & General’s thoughts on the findings?

Paula Llewellyn, Chief Marketing Officer and Direct MD, Legal & General Retail
Paula Llewellyn, Chief Marketing Officer and Direct MD, Legal & General Retail

Paula Llewellyn, Chief Marketing Officer and Direct MD, Legal & General Retail, said, “It’s great to see that one in four adults are currently working in a career they dreamt of as a child.”

“For others, salary considerations and practical limitations, like location, means not everyone can follow their dream career path. Our survey found that 66% of respondents have made or considered a career change. Legal & General is here to support individuals, and their loved ones, through critica; milestones, like any shifts and changes to income and employment.”

To see the full research and videos please visit the Legal & General website.