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How much does the average real estate employee earn?

The average weekly income for employees in the real estate sector is just under $1400, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

That figure is slightly below the average, according to the Employee Earnings and Hours data released yesterday, which indicated the average Australian weekly wage across all occupations in May last year was $1394, while real estate was $1381.70.

However, the real estate category does not distinguish between the different roles involved in the sector.

Real Estate Institute of Australia President Hayden Groves said real estate provided a range of opportunities to establish a long-term career with options to progress up the ranks.

“Sales tends to be the glamour role and the one that is showcased, and if you move into that role it often comes with a lot more than $72,000 a year,” he said.

“But there’s great scope in real estate in other areas. You might start off as a leasing consultant before moving into property management and then graduating into sales.

“Or you might start in administration, as the director of first impressions and then become a marketing assistant. And if the marketing manager vacates you could progress into that position.”

Mr Groves said one issue affecting selling agents was the high rate of attrition, with the national award system meaning rookie agents were often let go just months after starting at an agency.

“Under the award they have to be given a minimum wage, but if they don’t sell a property in the first 90 days they’re often shown the door,” he said.

“Sometimes good people are lost because of that. Only 10 percent of people that qualify to be a selling representative in any state, make it beyond 12 months.”

ABS Head of Labour Statistics, Bjorn Jarvis said managers and professionals had the highest earnings of all occupations, with managers earning an average hourly rate of $65.10 and professionals $57.90.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, sales workers and labourers had the lowest average hourly earnings at $30.50 and $31 respectively.

“Hourly earnings comparisons are useful in understanding gender pay differences, beyond weekly earnings measures, given men are more likely to work full-time than women,” Mr Jarvis said.

“On average, men earned $44.50 an hour, compared to $40.20 per hour for women. Average hourly earnings were higher for men in all eight occupation groups.

“In dollar terms, the difference between male and female average hourly earnings was greatest for managers ($11.50) and professionals ($8.50) and lowest for machinery operators and drivers ($3.80). 

“In percentage terms, the difference was greatest for community and personal service workers (19 per cent) and managers (16 per cent), and lowest for machinery operators and drivers (10 per cent).”

In weekly terms, employees brought in an average of $1394 per week, with men earning an average of $1625 and women $1167.

“The majority of full-time employees are men (62 per cent), and they have higher average earnings ($1934 per week) compared with women who work full-time ($1676 per week),” Mr Jarvis said.

“Women make up the majority of part-time employees (69 per cent) with slightly higher weekly earnings, on average, than men working part-time ($746 compared to $722). 

“This reflects the greater use of part-time working arrangements by women than men in higher-paying jobs.”

Mr Groves said real estate was a career that women could and do excel at.

“There is more women in the real estate industry than men,” he said.

“It is an industry a lot of women can excel in and create autonomy and a career in.”

Distributional data showed that the top quarter of earners in Australia received more than $1814 per week in May 2021, while the lowest-earning quarter of employees received less than $750. Median weekly earnings were $1209.

Looking at data by state and territory, employees in the ACT earned the most, recording an average weekly wage of $1611.70.

This was followed by the Northern Territory ($1561), Western Australia ($1472.20), NSW ($1463.20), Victoria ($1343.90), Queensland ($1338.60), South Australia ($1258.60) and Tasmania ($1123.40).

The most common method of setting pay was an individual arrangement (38 per cent, up from 37 per cent in 2018), followed by a collective agreement (35 per cent, down from 38 per cent in 2018).

Less than a quarter of employees were paid according to an award (23 per cent, up from 21 per cent in 2018). A small proportion of employees were owner-managers of incorporated enterprises (4 per cent in both 2021 and 2018) who set their own pay. 

“Men were more likely to have their pay set by an individual arrangement (44 per cent), whereas the most common method for women was a collective agreement (39 per cent),” Mr Jarvis said.

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