Study finds 82 per cent of people not in the career they dreamt of having

Many students entering science programs this fall, hoping to become doctors or forensic scientists, will never work in those fields.


But they are not alone.


A recent study released by Internet recruiting website found 82 per cent of adults are not in the careers they dreamt of when they were younger.


The national survey found teenagers chose doctor as their “dream” job, followed by teacher, veterinarian, police officer and professional athlete. Forensic scientist ranked ninth on the list, something Workopolis president Patrick Sullivan attributes to the success of the CSI television franchise.

“For us, the fact that many students don’t end up doing what they thought they’d be doing is not a problem at all,” said Serge Blais, director of Student Academic Success Service at the University of Ottawa.

Blais said they have found that after the first or second year of university, many students change their career course and aspirations after realizing how many other programs are available.

“The University of Ottawa offers about 380 different programs,” he said. “Most high school students could name five or six — certainly not 380.”

At the age of 17 or 18, Sullivan said many students are still deciding what they want to do with their future.

University of Ottawa student Gilles Grenot wanted to be an astrophysicist when he enrolled, but is now hoping to be a science reporter.

“Physics was too awful,” Grenot said. “It was all math and had nothing to do with the stars.”

While having a goal and working toward it is important, Blais said flexibility and having an open mind are equally significant. The university encourages students to keep their options open and has structured its programs to be broad enough so students can make changes without having to start over.

Sullivan said there is nothing wrong with changing programs midway if your dreams change.

“I think the reality is that dreams change as we age,” Sullivan said. “Although a child may have wanted to be a teacher or a police officer or doctor, I think when they realize there are jobs out there, like journalist or chartered accountant, they start to find additional dream jobs. You kind of evolve your dreams, as well.”

dream job hunting tips

  1. Reassess. If you’re not doing what you love, take some time to find out why.

  2. Get creative. Look back at your dream job. Explore what elements about it were so appealing and incorporate that into the present day.

  3. Embrace your inner child. “Consider asking the children in your life what they want to be when they grow up — they might just give you some ideas!” said Sullivan.