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Childhood Dreams: Just 1 in 10 of us are working in our dream profession

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were little?

“WHEN I GROW up, I want to be…” It’s the famous sentence we’ve all said at least once in our lifetime. As children, big dreams and ambitions were par for the course, but how many of those dreams actually came true?

We’ve teamed up with Allianz Insurance to conduct the Securing Your Future* survey which looks at all aspects of Irish life. In our first theme, we’re taking a look back at childhood dream jobs.

closeupfaceofhappymultiethnicchildrenembracingeachotherand Shutterstock / Rido Shutterstock / Rido / Rido

We all know how influential teachers can be on students lives, so it’s not that surprising that the majority of those surveyed wanted to walk in the footsteps of their favourite educator. Of those surveyed, 10.8% of people had childhood dreams of becoming a teacher! 

The second most popular profession was in the field of healthcare, with 8.3% of those surveyed wanting to step into the world of nursing, the third highest ranked profession of those surveyed was a Guard with 4.7%. Coming in last position was being wealthy, with just 1.1% of people hoping to be rolling in cash when they grew up.

Have childhood dreams changed?

We asked parents taking part in the survey to tell us what their children’s dream jobs are currently in order to compare the generational shift in jobs.

As you can see from the diagram below, being a vet or a professional athlete was a profession that increased in popularity throughout the generations but it’s the Youtuber which is the clear standout when it comes to a new job, with 5.1% of those surveyed saying it’s their child’s dream gig. 


But how many people actually ended up in the profession of their dreams? Unfortunately, not many.

A whopping 70% of those surveyed responded ‘no’, when asked, “Are you currently working in the job that you wanted when you were a child?”
8.8% said they were, 9.7% responded with an ominous ‘sort of’ and 11.5% of those surveyed indicated that it wasn’t applicable.

When you exclude the non-applicable responses, this works out that just 1 in 10 of those surveyed are currently working in their dream childhood job.

Of course, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.


At Allianz, they believe in living life to the fullest and are encouraging their trusted customer base to take their next step and write their own story as part of their new campaign, “You Write It. We Underwrite it.”

Speaking about the new campaign, Head of Marketing at Allianz Insurance, Mark Brennan, said: 

This campaign will build on our desire to give our customers confidence in their future, whether their next move is big or small. We want all of our existing and future customers to know that Allianz will be there to support them in their endeavours, so they can write their own story.”


Whether you wanted to be a pilot, a teacher, a journalist or simply happy (as 1.2% of people did), it’s never too late to take a look at your future and start rewriting your story. 

* Three question poll conducted for Allianz & TheJournal.ie by Ireland Thinks. Date of Survey: 6th to 7th of August, 2022. Sample size: 1,180. Margin of Error: +/- 2.9 percent.

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