What's Your Greatest Wish When it Comes to Your Job?


The Real Wishes Report uncovers the real wishes of everyday Australians. Focusing on family and friends, experiences, careers, finances, the environment and health and wellbeing, the report drills down into what they hope to achieve in 2020 and beyond whilst exploring the key drivers behind these wishes. The report has been compiled based on research commissioned by Real Insurance and conducted by CoreData in October 2019. 

For a great number of Australians, a good third of daily life is taken up by work. The standard 40-hour week which, more often than not, is being stretched these days is the foundation for a work life that takes up pretty much half our entire life. It goes without saying that all manner of job wishes figure pretty high amongst most Australians.

So, what do we wish for most when it comes to our careers? What do we want most to happen with our job? Something you could have perhaps. Something you could do maybe. Something you could be possibly. And what about when the wishes are to happen? Right away, the foreseeable future or maybe it’s something you wish you’d done differently in the past. 

Dr Mary Hoang, Founder & Head Psychologist at The Indigo Project says while Aussies are working hard to achieve their dreams, it can actually come at a high price. “There is no doubt that Australians are using their capabilities, together with hard work, to manufacture their destiny. Yet the reality is, for many, the pressure of keeping up with making our wishes a reality can take a huge toll on an individual’s health and wellbeing.”

To find out what our country’s greatest wishes are, 5000 Australians were asked just that. It asked what our greatest wishes are when it comes to family and friends, experiences, health and wellbeing, finances, environment and career.

From this survey, the country’s first ever Real Wishes Index was created, employing a scale of 0 to 100 across the various categories.

While some wishes across the board were real eye openers, interestingly many of us seem to be on the same page, especially when it comes to our careers.

Top of the long list

It turns out that while Australians might have a laundry list of wishes with their job, their job certainly isn’t highest on their wish list with the overall index score for career sits at only 41.8. In fact, being more present and spending more time with family and friends is a far greater wish with 81.2% of the nation. So, it seems Australians aren’t as career focused as you might assume. And it signals a possible shift to a more balanced lifestyle.

That said, when it came to careers, work-life balance, job security and, updating or learning new skills figured highest amongst the wishes.

Career Wishes index table

Career Wishes      Index Score (0-100) 
Find a better work-life balance    51.5 
Feel confident in my job security    51.2 
Update my skills or retrain to learn new skills    49.1 
Find my dream job    46.9 
Get more/different education    40.1 
Rise to the upper ranks of my profession    34.9 
Change my career    31.6 
Start my own business    29.1 

All in a day’s work

What you want out of your career depends a lot on where you’re at with your career. The younger you are, the greater your wish to have your dream job (78.7) or climb the ladder of your profession (59.1). However, the older you become the less are such wishes. So much so they almost become non-existent once you pass the age of 55.

Hanging in the balance

It also seems the younger you are, the greater your wish for a better work life balance. It’s right up there for Gen Z and Gen Y.

Money matters

While our finances are important to all of us being our livelihood, it scored somewhere in the middle of our greatest wishes with an index of 51.5.

Financial security tops the list here. Interestingly though, the dream of owning property doesn’t even rank higher than the ability to splurge on gifts for family and friends.

Financial Wishes index table

Financial Wishes     Index Score (0-100) 
Build my financial security for the future   73.9 
Budget better and save more money    71.1 
Splurge on friends and loves ones especially around Christmas    52.1 
Have enough money to help my children/grandchildren   51.3
Buy the property I've been dreaming of   50.2 
Pay off mortgage   39.7
Buy my dream car or boat   37.3
Renovate my home    36.3 


Age has a say in what you wish most with finances. Different generations have different financial priorities. The younger generation are more concerned with building financial security and keeping an eye on their budget, while the older generation have a great wish to help their next generation of their family.

You can find out a lot more about the career wishes of Australians and also what the greatest wishes are when it comes to family and friends, experiences, health and wellbeing, finances and environment here.