updated 1/25/2007 7:04:23 PM ET 2007-01-26T00:04:23

More than four out of five U.S. workers do not have their dream jobs, which most people describe as work that is fun, according to a survey released Thursday.

Salary was one of the least important requirements of a dream job, cited by just 12 percent of respondents in the survey by CareerBuilder.com, an online job site, and The Walt Disney Co, which is holding a contest in which winners can get a chance to work at a Disney theme park job for a day.

Having fun at a dream job was cited by 39 percent, with 17 percent saying making a difference in society was most important, the survey showed.

“That fun was more important than money, that was reassuring when you’re looking at the workplace and what defines happiness for people in their jobs,” said Jennifer Sullivan, spokeswoman for CareerBuilder.com.

Overall, 84 percent of respondents said they are not in their dream jobs, the study found.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unhappy,” said Sullivan. “They may just not have the job they’ve always been looking for.”

Among professions, police and firefighters were most likely to say they have their dream jobs, at 35 percent, followed by 32 percent of teachers, 28 percent of real estate professionals and 25 percent of engineers.

Fields with the least number of workers with dream jobs were accommodations and food services at 9 percent, manufacturing at 9 percent and retail at 10 percent.

Among major U.S. cities, workers in Boston had the highest incidence of feeling they have their dream jobs, at 37 percent, followed by Sacramento at 26 percent, San Francisco at 23 percent, Philadelphia at 22 percent, Salt Lake City at 20 percent, and Dallas and Portland, both at 19 percent.

Cities with the least number of workers in dream jobs were San Diego at 7 percent, Phoenix and Detroit at 10 percent and Atlanta and Miami at 11 percent.

Asked what they had wanted to be as adults when they were children, 22 percent of people surveyed said firefighter, 17 percent said princess and 16 percent said professional dancer. An equal number of people — 14 percent —  wanted to be cowboy or president.

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 6,169 full-time workers between Nov. 17 and Dec. 11. The margin of error was plus or minus 1 percentage point.

CareerBuilder.com is owned by Gannett Co Inc , Tribune Co  and The McClatchy Co.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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