Half of Ireland’s Workers Have Fallen Out of Love With Their Job

Half of Ireland’s workers (49%) have fallen out of love with their current job, according to a new report from Matrix Recruitment.

Of those who no longer like their job, one-third said that they are not being paid enough and one-quarter admitted that they don’t like the company they are working for. A further 27% cited working in a toxic environment and more than one in ten want to work for a company that has implemented a four-day working week.

Matrix Recruitment’s annual Dream Job Survey sought the views of more than 1000 adults in Ireland on a range of career-related topics. Eight in ten of those surveyed said that they had a dream job in mind when growing up. Of those, 38% said that they were now in that dream job, while 22% are working on it.

Speaking about the findings, Matrix Recruitment’s Catherine Keating said: “Across many sectors, it’s a candidate’s market right now, so the finding relating to a high number of people who said they’re not loving their jobs was particularly interesting. But for every one person not content, there’s one who is very happy with their current role, and it was wonderful to see that more than one-third have found what they believe to be their dream job.”

Work/life balance valued over salary

A great work/life balance that includes flexible working was a key factor in people’s concept of the dream job, according to 58% of respondents, more so than having a good salary (54%). A pleasant work environment and job satisfaction were ranked highly by more than half of all those surveyed (55% and 50%, respectively).

Meanwhile, fewer people rated benefits such as free lunches, sleeping pods or gym membership (17% in 2023 versus 21% in 2022).

Interestingly, being in a job that helps others has fallen down the ranks from 38% to 20% in the past 12 months, while fame has become marginally more important to people when choosing a dream job rising to 7% from just 3% last year.

“It’s interesting to see how recent attitudes have changed when it comes to what is important to workers. Over the past two years, a job that helped others was ranked highly, but fewer survey respondents cited this as an important attribute in our most recent findings. This might reflect how priorities have changed along with attitudes towards essential jobs in a post-pandemic workforce,” Catherine said.

Financial barriers

29% of respondents who are not in their dream job identified financial factors as one of the main barriers, and according to Matrix Recruitment’s Catherine Keating, this comes as no surprise, particularly in today’s economic climate with rising accommodation costs, together with energy and general cost of living inflation.

“Salary and remuneration packages are a clear consideration for many of our job candidates right now, and while flexible working and benefits such as health insurance were key factors last year, the balance is shifting again, and a comfortable salary is high on the priority list for many as the cost of living crisis rumbles on,” Catherine commented.

A return to education/upskilling

Notwithstanding the finding that many people did not pursue their dream job because of financial barriers, nearly one third of all respondents (32%) said that they would be willing to take a pay cut to secure what they believed to be their dream job. However, it was evident that age played a factor in this answer as almost half (45%) of all 35–44-year-olds surveyed said they’d take a pay cut for their dream job, while only a quarter (25%) of 25–34-year-old said the same.

When asked what other sacrifices they would be willing to make:

More than half said they would upskill or return to education (51%)

55% of all respondents aged 45–54 said they’d upskill or return to college for dream job

32% said they would move abroad

Almost half of all 18–25-year-olds surveyed said they’d move abroad for their dream job
Only 17% of 45–54-year-olds said the same

26% said they would miss a personal event such as a wedding or a funeral

Speaking on these findings, Catherine said: “It’s fantastic to see that so many in the 45–54 age bracket would be willing to return to education and/or upskill to pursue their dream job. This is something we actively encourage at Matrix Recruitment, particularly if people feel the need to move or chase a promotion and is a clear sign that it’s never too late to change career, or to find that dream role.

“Compounding this ever more is the fact that 82% of workers in Ireland believe there is such a thing as a dream job and thanks to a strong jobs market, there are plenty of opportunities for employees in the Irish job sector right now – all candidates need to do is send out their CVs and seize the opportunities available,” Catherine concluded.


The Matrix Recruitment Dream Jobs Survey was conducted in March 2023 with 1018 adults working across a broad range of industries, sectors, and regions.