- 66% of workforce have new-found respect for essential workers new report finds
- 43% have fallen out of love with their job
- 38% say their idea of ‘the dream job’ has changed due to COVID-19
- 38% would take a pay cut to secure their dream job; 25% would miss a wedding or funeral
- Workers re-evaluating career choice since pandemic according to new report

62% of people say their view of frontline jobs has changed since the pandemic began, including work done by health professionals, teachers, journalists, couriers, restauranteurs and childcare practitioners. Of these, 66% say they have a new-found respect for jobs that are now considered ‘essential’, according to findings from a new report from Matrix Recruitment.

Our Dream Job Survey of more than 1,800 adults in Ireland looked at a range of career-related topics including the ultimate dream job and shifting attitudes since the onset of the pandemic. Of those whose views of certain professions have changed since the pandemic, 16% have less respect for jobs that do not contribute positively to society with almost a quarter (24%) saying that careers based on fame or prominence in society are no longer of interest.


Over one-third of people surveyed (38%) say that their idea of the ‘dream’ job has changed over the past year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and job security is now key, according to 45%. 35% of Irish adults said that their new dream job is one where they could help others and 32% said it is one that cannot be impacted by future crises.

The shift in perceptions is tangible and given the number of people that have lost their jobs or have been furloughed, it’s understandable that the idea of what constitutes the dream job has changed. Job security is really important to people right now, whereas pre-pandemic, perks such as a free gym pass, lunch or sleeping pods and games in the office would have often been top of people’s wish lists.

While interesting to note that people have changed their perception of those in essential roles, it’s not that surprising. Over the past year, essential workers have toiled tirelessly, keeping us safe and well, ensuring shop shelves are stocked, home deliveries arrive and that we have access to transport when journeys are necessary. People recognise this hard work and they appreciate it.


The Dream Job Survey has found that 43% of people in Ireland have fallen out of love with their job. When asked why:

  • 46% said they feel stuck in a rut and need a change
  • 40% said they are bored and uninspired
  • 35% said they are not being paid enough
  • 27% cited the pandemic as a factor that has made them re-evaluate their career choice

Four in ten people (41%) said they would consider changing jobs this year if the right opportunity came along and 38% are actively looking to move job this year. Of those, 34% are in search of a better work/life balance, while 30% have decided to take the plunge and pursue their dream job.


The survey, conducted in March 2021, also asked respondents what they would do to secure their dream job, in which:

  • 64% said they would go back to further education and retrain
  • 38% said they would take a pay cut
  • 34% said they would move abroad
  • One quarter would forego a funeral or wedding to secure their dream job

The pandemic has made many people re-evaluate their lives and their careers. For some, extra time for family or to pursue hobbies and passion projects have become more important over the past twelve months. For others, the pandemic has made them realise that life is too short to stay in a job they don’t love and has given them the impetus to seek out new challenges or pursue their dream job.

As recruiters, we work with candidates of all ages so it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to change career. Findings from the report also highlighted the significant number of people that are willing to study or retrain for a career shift, which is really encouraging.


Three in five respondents (59%) said they had some idea of what their dream job would be when they were a child. However, only 18% are now working in that profession. The majority (56%) reported regret for not chasing their dream job.

For some people, following their dreams is not an option referring to the 27% of people who said that financial barriers prevented them from pursuing their dream job. Other reasons given include:

  • Lack of requisite skills (16%)
  • Prioritising raising a family (13%)
  • Not getting the points in the Leaving Certificate (12%)
  • Pressure from family to pursue another option (11%)


Having great job satisfaction was ranked top of the priority list when it came to what constitutes the ‘dream job’. In second place were ‘having a salary that allows them to live life to the full’ along with ‘having a great work-life balance’.

Having a pleasant work environment was also deemed important (ranked 3rd) as were perks like a gym, pension, and health benefits (ranked 4th). People also rate having a job that relates to their passion or hobby. Being rich and famous was deemed the least important factor when it came to people’s dream job.

The last year has put things in perspective for a lot of people and has highlighted what is really important, so it’s not surprising that aspirations like being rich and famous are being shunned in favour of job satisfaction and a good work/life balance. When it comes to the ultimate dream job, many have cited being a ‘business owner’ as their top choice. This surprised us given the challenges that have been faced by so many SMEs this year, but the response demonstrates Ireland’s resilience and enterprising spirit. Perhaps with so many people out of work and the precariousness of some sectors, people want to be in charge of their destiny and create their own success by starting a business.

In addition to business owner, other dream jobs included scientist, doctor, vet, nurse, interior designer, accountant, artist, social care worker, engineer, journalist, blogger and IT consultant.

covid careers insight

About the 2021 Dream Job survey

The Matrix Recruitment Dream Jobs Survey was conducted online in March 2021 among 1808 adults working across a broad range of industries, sectors and regions.

www.matrixrecruitment.ie.       @Matrixrecruit                #MatrixDreamJob

View full 2021 Dream Job Infographic here

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