Industry Reports

Wellness is key driver in career success, says UBC Psychology Professor

Survey shows that independence and helping others drives job satisfaction and success among real estate agents
Beautiful woman happy. Greater Vancouver buyer's market
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Nearly half of Realtors® love the independence their chosen career provides, according to a new Zolo survey that measured the success and challenges of the real estate profession. 

The Zolo Realtor Survey was developed to determine why people choose real estate as a profession and to examine the challenges faced when building a real estate career. 

“A career in real estate offers a work environment and diversity of opportunity that attracts all types of people,” says Zolo President, Mustafa Abbasi. “To help each individual to succeed in this chosen profession, we wanted to identify the largest obstacles and biggest motivations. This way, we can create programs and tools to help our agents succeed.”

Benefits of a Real Estate Career

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According to the Zolo Realtor Survey, 41% of Realtors ranked independence as the “best part” of their profession—with 34% of these respondents aged 50 or older and 29% between age 40 and 49.

To offer insights into the findings, Zolo consulted with Dr. Michael Woodworth, a Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus and a clinical psychologist. 

Dr. Woodworth confirmed that in today’s rapidly shifting job market, having more freedom and flexibility can lead to unlimited potential for the right type of motivated individual. 

These findings support prior research in the areas of workplace motivation and success. According to a study published in the academic journal, Health Promotion International, job autonomy is essential to job satisfaction. Autonomy and independence are terms to describe how much a person believes they can direct and control their own choices and actions. “The degree of independence can have a dramatic impact on a person’s job satisfaction.”

Still, independence was not the only factor that was important for job satisfaction. 

“It’s remarkable how many workers are increasingly looking for a job where there is a greater sense of purpose and the potential for personal fulfilment by both helping and connecting with others,” explained Dr. Woodworth. 

Not surprisingly, the second “best part” of being a Realtor, according to results from the Zolo Realtor Survey, was the ability to help others (38%); only 13% of the respondents saw the potential for financial success as the “best part.” 

As Dr. Woodworth observed, growing numbers of employees appear to be measuring their success in more ways than just financial achievement.

Attractive Aspects of Real Estate

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To help assess what motivates and inspires Realtors to pursue and succeed in a career in real estate, the Zolo Realtor Survey measured the most important goals as identified by agents ranging in age from 18 to 65. 

The four primary goals identified were, as follows: 

  • 34% believed that a real estate career offered the ability to earn a good living (and earn money) 
  • 21% highlighted the ability to succeed as an attractive aspect of this career path
  • 12% appreciated the ability to put family first, as a professional working in the real estate industry
  • 10% were enthusiastic with the career for allowing them to take care of their health and their family’s health. 

Perhaps this is why 44% of agents, when asked what other careers they would choose, opted to continue being a Realtor. Other potential career selections included: entrepreneur (9%); a creative job, such as an actor (8%) and a designer (4%). 

Challenges of Real Estate as a Career

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The report also found that real estate agents faced several identifiable common problems in their profession. In particular, 24% struggled with time management, while 20 % found that growing their business is the biggest challenge. Balancing work-life balance is a challenge for 12% of Realtors, while 11% struggle to deal with health issues while trying to achieve career success. 

“Realtors face many of the same challenges as other occupations but must do so often while having to perform under highly intense and irregular markets,” explains Dr. Woodworth. “Then they must add to this the demand to consistently maintain an upbeat and positive attitude—regardless of how they are feeling that day—while supporting individuals through one of the most emotional and expensive transactions of their whole life.” 

In his practice, Dr. Woodworth sees first-hand, the need for proper self-care and work environments that genuinely support emotional wellness and balance in an employee’s life. 

“Workplaces that support their employees by creating an environment of trust and communication will be the ones that really have the potential to thrive,” says Dr. Woodworth. 

It turns out survey respondents did identify the benefits of help. More than half (59%) wanted to work with a coach to help them overcome the biggest obstacles to their career growth and the achievement of their personal values. 

To support holistic wellness, Zolo invited Dr. Michael Woodworth to present an educational seminar on self-care strategies to “create a more successful you within your work, home and community.” 

This special two-hour event will take place at the Zolo Gastown Office at #1031-88 West Pender Street in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, October 25, 2019, starting at 11:11 a.m. PST. 

This seminar will illustrate the science behind the need for self-care and discuss the tools top producers need to avoid burnout and stay ahead of the competition. 

This limited-seating wellness seminar will be catered and is free to agents or partners of Zolo (who RSVP) with a limited number of tickets open to members of the public. For more information, please email

The data used to determine these results came from the findings of the Zolo Realtor Survey 2019, an online survey conducted between July and August 2019. The survey asked more than 100 Realtors in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia a series of long-form questions to identify obstacles, challenges and successes in their careers. The estimated margin of error is +/- 8 percentage points, 18 times out of 20.

Romana King
Romana King

Romana is an award-winning personal finance writer with an expertise in real estate. She is obsessed with the property marketplace and is the current Director of Content at Zolo.