The Most Popular Work Goals for Americans in 2023

Going to work, whether in the office or remotely, forms a huge part of each of our lives, so it’s only natural that we place such an emphasis on professional progression and happiness. But what are the nation’s top work goals for 2023?

To find out the most popular professional goals going into the new year, we surveyed 1,000 Americans of all ages, genders, and occupations to determine their objectives for 2023 and how they’ll measure success.

What do Americans want to achieve at work in 2023?

According to our research, the most popular work goal for both men and women in 2023 is to get a raise, with 44% striving for a boost in pay in the new year. Interestingly, this is also the main goal for all age groups 25+, with those 18-24 instead prioritizing getting a new job (and likely kick-starting their careers).

The second-most popular goal for Americans next year is to get a promotion, with 31% gunning for extra responsibility and seniority at work in 2023. Curiously, this is the key goal for over a third of men (37.20%), while just a quarter of women (25.70%) prioritize promotions.

When we combine the top two goals, there’s an even more noticeable contrast between the intentions of men and women going into 2023. Specifically, a combined 82.5% of men are going for either a raise or a promotion, compared to just 68.7% of women.

Ranking as the next-most important work goal, we have an improved work/life balance, with 24% of Americans considering this a key 2023 objective. While it may be the third-highest rated goal overall, however, it’s actually the second-most popular among those aged 45+, perhaps prompted by the desire to settle down.

Meanwhile, a further one-in-five Americans’ 2023 work goal is to either find a new job (21%) or enjoy improved stability in their chosen careers (20%). Delving into the data, women (23.5%) are far more likely to look for a new job than men (17.5%), while improved stability is notably the third-most popular objective for those aged over 55 – perhaps with one eye on prioritizing a steady income as they save for retirement.

Intriguingly, just over one-in-ten Americans hope to spend the new year either increasing productivity at work (13%) or becoming more efficient with their working day (12%), with a further 11% aim to either start their own business or completely change career.

Moving down the list, 9% of Americans aim to spend the new year earning a new qualification, whether it be a relevant industry certification or college degree, while 2% are looking for opportunities to speak at conferences and events. What’s perhaps interesting, though, is that almost twice as many men (2.7%) are working towards public speaking appearances than women (1.4%).

How many Americans achieved their work goals in 2022?

We’ve looked ahead at America’s 2023 work goals, but how does the nation’s workers feel this year has gone from a professional perspective?

According to our research, almost three quarters of men (72%) feel they’ve achieved their goals for the year, versus less than two thirds of women (59.6%). However, of these, almost a third of men (29.4%) wish they’d achieved even more in 2022, compared to a quarter of women (23%).

On the flipside, 27.8% of men and 40.2% of women don’t feel they’ve hit their goals this year, although women (26.8%) are much more likely than men (18.1%) to be satisfied with their achievements, nonetheless.

With the vast majority of Americans hoping for raises or promotions at work in the new year, it’ll be interesting to see how many are happy with their achievements when we reflect in another 12 months.

In the meantime, make your work life easier with the help of a dedicated receptionist team or phone answering service, or check out the latest from our experts over on the Moneypenny blog.