How property has overtaken health as Queensland’s biggest employer

More Queenslanders than ever are choosing to work for the property industry, with 331,400 people employed during 2015-16.

That’s 38 per cent up on 2013-14 figures from economic consultants AEC Group, which show the property industry has now clearly overtaken the health and social assistance industry.

Property is now the state’s largest contributor to GSP (gross state product) and government revenue, at $42.7 billion and $11.2 billion respectively.

“Is it a surprise that it’s the biggest industry? Not at all really,” McGrath New Farm sales agent Drew Davies said. He made a sideways change in the property industry, out of an architecture firm and into a real estate agency.

Mr Davies said people engaged with the property industry through necessity and because it could be an aspirational career choice.

“I was a draftsman, I designed houses and worked on highrises. It played a role in my decision to move to real estate,” he said. “I had a great conversation with this young bloke on a flight to LA. He told me what industry he was in, it was property. When I stepped off the plane, I quit my job.”

While the extra money and potential career choices swayed him, Mr Davies said real estate was a lot of hard work.

“There’s no ceiling and that’s the attraction, there’s no ceiling on income,” he said. “But I think a lot of young people get romanced into the industry with the promise of high income but they need to think of it as an apprenticeship. Related: Gold Coast buyers dominate at auction eventRelated: Holiday locations that double as good investmentsRelated: How our state economies stack up against the world

“If you work hard and put your head down, you’ll start to see a return after three years.”

Property Council of Queensland Director Chris Mountford said the hard workers in the industry and their impact on the economy shouldn’t be understated.

“Some one in three Queenslanders’ wages rely on our industry directly and indirectly. That’s a huge contribution to the livelihoods of individuals and families,” he said. “These are white collar and blue collar jobs, from high finance to skilled trades, and from construction to the managers of the most sophisticated commercial properties.”

Those commercial properties can then have a flow-on effect down the line too, Mr Mountford said.

“Excellent office accommodation it’s another driver in bringing new businesses to the area,” he said. “Our industry creates assets which are important for every community and helps shape our cities for the future.”

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