Dream job elusive for many Kiwis

By Kieran Campbell

Unrealistic expectations and lack of motivation barriers to desired career

Eclipse recruitment consultant Fleur Clough said graduates were often frustrated by a lack of opportunities in the industry they'd spent years studying for. Photo / Thinkstock
Eclipse recruitment consultant Fleur Clough said graduates were often frustrated by a lack of opportunities in the industry they'd spent years studying for. Photo / Thinkstock

If you're dreading returning to work on Monday, don't despair - at least you're not alone.

A new study has found only one in four Kiwis believes they are in their dream job, a percentage lower than in most major countries.

Employment experts say it's because New Zealanders sometimes lack opportunities in their industry, may have unrealistic expectations about their career or don't have the motivation to find something new.

Only Britons are more disillusioned than Kiwis, according to the worldwide survey by career website LinkedIn, which found the majority of those polled in 17 countries were still chasing their dream job. Just a third of the 8000 surveyed said they had their childhood dream job or were working in a career related to it.

Eclipse recruitment consultant Fleur Clough said graduates were often frustrated by a lack of opportunities in the industry they'd spent years studying for.

She said many who came to her also had the wrong understanding of the job they wanted.

An example was that a large number of young people were interested in event organising until they realised "it's not always as glamorous as they think it's going to be".

"People going to leave school think: 'I love events, I want to be an event manager'. And the reality is you're working weekends, you're not in the event, you're behind the scenes carrying equipment, setting up things. They do it for a year and think 'this is hard work, I actually don't want this job anymore'."

Talent management director Anne-Marie MacIntyre, of recruitment company Hudson, said some people who found themselves stuck in the same job for 20 years lacked the motivation to find something new.

Other research indicated Kiwis had been holding on to jobs for fear there might not be others, she said.

"I think New Zealanders are really quite good at making do with a situation and making the best of it."

Ms MacIntyre said she encouraged people to think about the skills they'd learned and how they could apply them to other jobs they might be interested in.

"Where people feel motivated that's where they're saying they're in their dream job. That's exactly what we're trying to do when we're selecting people, we're trying to find that right dream job."


Bills rude wake-up for those dreaming of ideal vocation

As a young university music student, Graham Potter dreamed of being a rock star. But the Auckland entrepreneur's perspective on what was a dream job changed when he was faced with bills to pay.

"I studied music and had great images of being a rock star. Unfortunately the job vacancies in that area are a little bit limited. In New Zealand, there's not a lot going for a performance musician in the classical scene."

Mr Potter entered the pharmaceutical industry and rose quickly to a management role before becoming chief executive of a company distributing nutraceuticals in the Asia Pacific region.

He is now involved with Auckland company Life Code Matrix, which helps people find suitable careers.

Doug Demchy dreams of being a politician, but the closest he has come is managing the Backbencher pub opposite Parliament. The 24-year-old finished his political science and public policy degree last June but has yet to land a job in the public sector.

"I've been the Backbencher duty manager ... looking after functions.

"It's not the job I'm ideally after, but it pays the bills."

Mr Demchy hopes that will change this year - not least because the Backbencher is closed for rebuilding after a fire.

"I'm going to be applying for more and more jobs and I'd like to be out of hospitality in six months."


Happy workers

People who've found their dream job

1. India 44 per cent
2. Indonesia 42 per cent
3. United Arab Emirates 35.7 per cent
4. Germany 33 per cent
5. Brazil 32 per cent
6. Austria 31 per cent
7. Switzerland 30 per cent
8. USA 29 per cent
9=. France, Canada, Sweden, South Africa 28 per cent
13=. Singapore, Hong Kong 27 per cent
15. Australia 26 per cent
16. New Zealand 25 per cent
17. UK 21 per cent

Source: LinkedIn survey

- NZ Herald

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