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Nearly Seventy-five Percent of Workers Still in Search of Dream Job, Survey Reveals

Workers Feel Fortunate to be Employed, Yet Dissatisfied with Several Aspects of Current Jobs

CHICAGO, September 5, 2003 - Three-out-of-four workers revealed they are not working in their dream jobs, according to's "At Work 2003" survey. At the same time, the majority of these workers voiced increased dissatisfaction with pay, workloads, stress levels and lack of career advancement opportunities in their current positions. The new survey, "At Work 2003," was conducted from August 11, 2003 to August 20, 2003 and included responses from 1,905 employed full-time workers.

"The majority of workers are still in pursuit of their dream jobs, citing financial responsibilities, lack of education and fear of the unknown as the primary reasons holding them back," said Matt Ferguson, chief operating officer of "Though they would like to move forward in achieving career goals, many workers are opting to stay in their current positions in today's tight job market. Job security is outweighing frustrations with increased workloads and stress levels, unsatisfactory compensation and less chance for upper mobility."

Workers are experiencing dissatisfaction with various job factors. Challenged to produce the same results with fewer co-workers, half of workers reported their workload is too heavy. In conjunction with heavier workloads, 55 percent of those surveyed said they are working under a great deal of stress.

Added responsibilities without higher pay or title is resulting in less contentment in the workplace. Fifty-three percent of workers reported they are dissatisfied with their pay, up from 44 percent in July 2002. Forty-five percent of workers are dissatisfied with the opportunities for career advancement within their own organization, up from 36 percent in July 2002.

In addition to frustrations with not being able to move up within one's organization, many workers are questioning the stability of their organizations in a tough economy. Two-third of workers said they continue to feel the threat of a layoff.

"The majority of workers are dissatisfied with their career progress, with 63 percent reporting that finding a better job would improve their quality of life," Ferguson continued. "These workers are poised to jumpstart their careers by pursuing other opportunities once the economy improves. The key to landing one's dream job is to identify career obstacles and then create a step by step plan that leverages all the educational and professional resources available to overcome each obstacle and move ahead."

Ferguson offers the following tips for workers in search of dream jobs:
  1. Describe your dream job in writing and the factors that have kept you from moving forward to your dream job sooner, such as training, education, etc.
  2. Blueprint a strategy for tackling each factor. Online educational programs enable you to continue in your current job while gaining the training you may need.
  3. Network with individuals in your prospective career area. Consider taking an internship or volunteering to gain further experience.
  4. Remain optimistic and look at career obstacles as opportunities to grow professionally.
The Survey
The new survey, "At Work 2003," was conducted from August 11, 2003 to August 20, 2003 of 1,905 employed full-time workers. To collect data for the survey, commissioned SurveySite to use an e-mail methodology whereby individuals who are members of SurveySite Web Panel were randomly selected and approached by e-mail invitation to participate in the online survey. The results of this survey are accurate within +/- 2.25 percent (19 times out of 20).

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