The World’s Dream Job: The Careers People are Searching for the Most

Not so long ago, a ‘job for life’ used to be an accepted wisdom. You studied the things that interested you and, when you finished your education, you picked an industry, found a job and stayed put until retirement. That concept has, over the years, become a thing of the past with many not happy to ‘settle’ when it comes to their choice of career. Real wage growth has also stagnated and changing jobs or career can be an excellent way to grow your income potential, not to mention the fact that migration continues to increase as more people move to new countries for better wages with the aim of sending more money back home to their families.
So, with that in mind, what are the most popular careers people are dreaming of? We’ve previously looked at where the world wants to work and the most popular countries to study in but with this study we were interested in discovering if people are still looking for a reliable, long-term option or a job where they can travel regularly and flex their creative talents and passions. And which sectors are proving most popular?
To find out, we looked at global search data to discover the dream jobs of every country in the world. To achieve this we looked at searches for ‘how to be a police officer’ rather than ‘police officer jobs’ to show the amount of people in the ‘dreaming’ stage of different careers.
This is what we learned…
What careers do people want to work in the most?
The Top 20 Dream Jobs Worldwide Global Search Volume for ‘how to be a…’
1. Pilot 930,630
2. Writer 801,200
3. Dancer 278,720
4. YouTuber 195,070
5. Entrepreneur 178,380
6. Actor 176,180
7. Influencer 159,180
8. Programmer 125,310
9. Singer 121,430
10. Teacher 114,950
11. DJ 112,360
12. Blogger 104,600
13. Doctor 104,080
14. Professor 91,400
15. Flight attendant 88,240
16. Firefighter 84,300
17. Judge 83,800
18. Lawyer 79,470
19. Attorney 74,030
20. Psychologist 66,750
“When I grow up I want to be a pilot” has long been a childhood dream of many around the world and, according to our search data analysis, the profession has lost none of its fascination. With close to a million annual searches around the world each year for ‘how to be a pilot’ and its translations, it topped our list of dream jobs as well as the work wishlists of 25 countries around the world, including countries like the USA, England and Australia. Our lust for travel shows no bounds following the pandemic and, with excellent pay, benefits and truly unique views on offer as you fly around the world, it’s easy to see why the thought of becoming a pilot continues to enthrall many of us.
In second place is the long-revered job of becoming a writer. There are many routes into this career of words and imagination whether that be a novelist, scriptwriter, journalist or copywriter. It’s a job that offers great flexibility as it can be done from anywhere around the world. There are big rewards if you reach the very top and yet, it also promises to be a grueling career for many filled with rejection, self-doubt and financial concerns. Despite this, an impressive 75 countries around the world dream of becoming a writer more than any other job, including the residents of New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden.
Another job in the arts takes our third spot - that of a professional dancer, a skill that requires huge levels of time and commitment to perfect. It’s clear that we dream of flexing our creative talents as several other roles in arts and culture feature in our top 20 including actor, singer and DJ. There are also several jobs featuring prominently that wouldn’t even have existed a decade or two ago such as YouTuber (4th), influencer (7th) and blogger (12th). Predominantly public sector jobs such as teacher (10th), doctor (13th) and firefighter (16th) also feature in our worldwide list of the most popular dream jobs.
To break down our results even further we’ve created a colour-coded map below that provides an at-a-glance view of which jobs are most popular in different countries.
Dream Jobs Around the World
The most popular jobs in social media and online
Creating humorous, insightful and addictive videos for the wildly popular search engine YouTube was the top career choice when looking specifically at social media and online professions. Eleven countries had this as their top job overall and interestingly most of them were in South and Latin America, including Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia, Chile and Peru. With the adulation and financial rewards that come with millions of views and followers it’s understandable that this proved a popular dream career in our study, despite the fact that ongoing content creation for the masses is tricky to excel at. The fame and perks of a career as a social media star is clearly a big draw for people with ‘influencer’ also topping the lists in eleven countries including Spain, Argentina and Colombia.
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Only the role of programmer deviated from social media stardom in this sector’s top five as it offers high wages, flexible working arrangements and for the most part, favourable job security.
The most popular jobs in social media and online Worldwide Global Search Volume for ‘how to be a…’
1. YouTuber 195,070
2. Influencer 159,180
3. Programmer 125,310
4. Blogger 104,600
5. Vlogger 35,240
The most popular public sector jobs
A life of public service is still appealing to many with the privilege of educating the next generation proving the biggest draw, as teacher tops the list in this sector. The greater financial rewards of becoming a doctor and helping people to stay healthy was next on the list, while the eminently more dangerous career path of firefighter is next. Law enforcement is also popular, particularly in South Korea where ‘how to be a police officer’ topped their list of dream job searches.
The most popular public sector jobs Worldwide Global Search Volume for ‘how to be a…’
1. Teacher 114,950
2. Doctor 104,080
3. Firefighter 84,300
4. Judge 83,800
5. Police Officer 50,470
The most popular jobs in art and culture
Comfortably the most popular sector around the world was arts and culture with all of the top 5 jobs here featuring in the overall top 20 list. Becoming a writer is second only to becoming a pilot and had the most countries (75) featuring it as their top job, whilst dancer proved most popular in Africa where Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria voted it as their dream profession. The lure of fame and fortune that goes along with ‘making it’ as an actor, singer or DJ is also appealing, perhaps explaining the never-ending cycle of talent spotting TV shows around the world.
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In the Middle East, poet is one of the most popular professions. People in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.
The most popular jobs in art and culture Worldwide Global Search Volume for ‘how to be a…’
1. Writer 801,200
2. Dancer 278,270
3. Actor 176,180
4. Singer 121,430
5. DJ 112,360
The most popular jobs in the sciences
Moving away almost entirely from fame (but not fortune) is a life spent working in the sciences. The rewarding and well-paid job of professor came first in this area, even topping the list in Germany. Helping people overcome their challenges (perhaps even in the form of helping them to figure out which career they want to pursue) also ranked well, in the form of careers in psychology and therapy.
The most popular jobs in the sciences Worldwide Global Search Volume for ‘how to be a…’
1. Professor 91,400
2. Psychologist 66,750
3. Therapist 57,960
4. Scientist 55,540
5. Life coach 33,980
The most popular jobs in sport
Living the life of a professional sportsperson has long been the dream of many but it comes with both incredible sacrifice and the need for at least a modicum of natural talent. That’s reflected in the lower search volumes for jobs in this sector although residents of Cape Verde on the westernmost point of Africa searched for ‘how to be a footballer’ more than any other profession.
The most popular jobs in sport Worldwide Global Search Volume for ‘how to be a…’
1. Footballer 57,540
2. Football coach 27,100
3. Wrestler 15,990
4. Basketball player 10,200
5. Boxer 7,990
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Not all countries provided enough search data to be featured – we've included the countries with enough data to analyse.
Google search data (searching all languages) was used to establish the annual search volume (October 2021 to October 2022) in each country for ‘how to be a [job]’ search terms associated with dreaming of a new job or career for every country in the world. The most searched for job was then used as the top career for the specific country.
Data correct as of November 2022.