What’s Your Dream Job? For Young People, Not Banking

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Not sure what you want to be when you grow up? A new survey takes a look at what young people consider the ideal employer. Up high: tech. Down low: banks.

While many Americans make New Year’s resolutions about losing weight, many recent college grads are resolving to find work. But where?

A recent survey shows young professionals would rather work for Disney, Starbucks, or Target than any major U.S. financial company. Is Occupy Wall Street occupying their thoughts? A few months ago, Universum surveyed almost 6,700 people with less than eight years of work experience about their ideal employers. Here are the top 10 responses…

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Facebook
  4. U.S. Department of State
  5. The Walt Disney Company
  6. Amazon
  7. FBI
  8. Microsoft
  9. Sony
  10. CIA

OK, so everyone wants to be Steve Jobs or James Bond when they grow up – no surprise there. But the highest-rated U.S. banks on the list? J.P. Morgan clocks in at 41, and Goldman Sachs at 46. It doesn’t seem like young people dislike numbers, though: The U.S. Treasury Department is at 24 and the World Bank is at 28. They just don’t buy into big-banking brands like they used to.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which talked to a Universum representative, “distrust of large financial institutions has grown among respondents as a result of poor economic conditions.” In comparing the results to last year’s, they also note Bank of America dropped from 48 to 77. That places BoA below Walmart, but if it’s any consolation to their execs and HR department, Citigroup (99) ranks below McDonald’s (93).

The study also found that more than 60 percent of those surveyed hoped to leave their current jobs within two years. If you’re thinking about a (realistic) career change, but don’t know where you want to go, start by reading up on interesting fields. Dream jobs don’t have to happen with dream employers.

Go check out the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. They have descriptions of most labor fields, including what skills, education, and personality traits are needed, and what the work environment, pay, hiring trends, and competition look like. All of this is updated yearly, and it’s fairly detailed. Not to pick on them, but to show the level of consideration they put in, here’s part of the section about the work environment of florists:

“Floral designers may suffer back strain from lifting and carrying heavy flower arrangements. Designers also may suffer allergic reactions to certain types of pollen when working with flowers. In addition, they frequently use sharp objects—scissors, knives, and metal wire—that can cause injuries if handled improperly. However, injuries can be mitigated by following proper procedures.”

Think you can handle the risks of arranging flowers? Then maybe this job, with a median salary of $23,000 a year, is for you. From here you might start looking up the big employers of florists in your area (probably grocery stores) and poke around the website of the relevant trade association, the Society of American Florists.

But take note: “Discretionary spending on flowers and floral products is highly sensitive to the state of the economy, and during economic downturns employment may fall off as floral expenditures decline.”

Still dreaming big? Check out The Top 10 Companies to Work For.

Stacy Johnson

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