Invest Sunshine Coast logo

Sign up for eNews

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Invest Sunshine Coast logo

Sign up for eNews

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

A surge of new workers is set to enhance the Sunshine Coast workforce over the next few years, with data showing the region will experience the second highest rate of employment growth in the state over the next two years.

Significant growth is expected in a range of sectors including health, construction, retail, education and professional services.

According to the Jobs Queensland Anticipating Future Skills report, an additional 22,695 people are expected to join the workforce between 2021 and 2026.

This marks a 12.5% increase in the labour market over the period and builds on the region’s growing reputation as a location of choice for people to live, work and do business.

Unbeatable location to live and work

Continuous population growth on the Sunshine Coast and the associated increased demand for goods and services is likely a key driver for the rise in employment numbers.

In 2021, the Sunshine Coast population consisted of just over 345,000 residents. By 2041 the population is expected to grow to over 500,000.

The Jobs Queensland report indicates that by 2025-26 the region will employ 203,940 people and be the third largest workforce in the state.

The health, construction and retail industries will employ the greatest number of workers. Health is anticipated to be the fastest growing sector for employment, followed by education and professional services.

With 300 days of sunshine a year, a welcoming community and diverse career opportunities, it’s no surprise that highly qualified workers are choosing to work and live on the Sunshine Coast.

The seven high value industries Sunshine Coast Council has identified to support and grow the economy are closely aligned with the trends identified in the report.

Highly skilled workers dominate the employment market

The Queensland workforce is evolving. It is expected that 70% of workers in Queensland will possess a post-school qualification by 2025-26 and a greater number of workers will be employed in professional roles.

A similar trend can be seen on the Sunshine Coast where the highest employment growth is expected to be seen in industries that typically require post-secondary qualifications:

    • 22% growth in health care and social assistance
    • 17% growth in education and training
    • 16% growth in professional, scientific and technical services.

Health at the heart of the region

Home to Australia’s largest health infrastructure project, the $5 billion Sunshine Coast Health Precinct, the region is one of the most exciting places to be employed in healthcare.

As the Sunshine Coast’s health facilities increase and its population grows, so will the demand for staff in the healthcare sector. Factors like socio-economic shifts and an ageing population will also drive growth in the health and social assistance sector.

By 2026 it is expected that nearly one in five people working on the Sunshine Coast will be employed by the health and social assistance sector. Workers in these industries will account for the largest component of the Sunshine Coast workforce, representing almost 20% of the labour market.

When compared to the rest of Queensland, it is clear that the Sunshine Coast is carving out its position as a region of choice for workers in health and social assistance. The industry is estimated to have 40,000 employees by 2026; an increase of 22% from 2021.

This growth rate is nearly 6% higher than the state’s average of 16%. It is also the highest rate of growth any industry on the Sunshine Coast will experience over the period.

Roles that will be in the highest demand are registered nurses, followed by aged and disabled carers, child carers and receptionists for organisations in the health and social assistance sectors.

Intelligent industry thrives

The Sunshine Coast is a place where qualified professionals can thrive. The region is a tech-friendly hub with a digitally oriented ecosystem. It has consistently won Top7 Intelligent Communities and Smart21 Intelligent Community awards for the past 10 years.

Data shows that professional, scientific and technical services industries will be an increasingly important employment sector on the Sunshine Coast. Over the 2021 – 2026 period employment in these sectors will experience the third largest jump in the region with a 16% increase in the size of the labour market. By 2026 it will account for 7% of the entire workforce in the region.

These numbers highlight the strength of the investments made to solidify the Sunshine Coast as a top location as a place for leaders in professional, scientific and technical services to find opportunities for growth and collaboration.

By 2026 the most sought after skills in these sectors will be for software and applications programmers, accountants, solicitors and civil engineering professionals.

The Maroochydore ‘Smart’ City is a major attractor for innovators across government, not for profit and commercial sectors. The newly built CBD offers a unique test environment for innovators with a range of cutting-edge solutions designed into the city’s infrastructure.

Education to drive economic growth

The Sunshine Coast boasts a world-class education sector with an award-winning university, a strong school system, and a growing international education market.

As the population on the Sunshine Coast grows, demand for education services will increase. The number of people using education services is expected to grow by 50% between 2013 and 2033.

Jobs for primary and secondary school teachers will make up the largest percentage of the education labour force in 2026, followed by education aides and private tutors and teachers.

Education is expected to be a key driver of economic growth in the coming years. By 2026 education will be the fifth largest employer on the Sunshine Coast. By 2033 the combined education and research sector is predicted to become the region’s second largest employer.

Double digit growth for tourism employment

As the third most loved destination in the world and Queensland’s Top Tourist Town for 2023, it’s no surprise that the hospitality workforce on the Sunshine Coast is projected to experience massive growth.

The number of people employed in accommodation and food services roles is expected to grow by almost 15% between 2021 – 2026.

Projection data shows the highest demand will be for waiters, kitchen hands, bar attendants, baristas and chefs which speaks to the burgeoning foodie culture on the Sunshine Coast.

Opportunities for business

The Sunshine Coast is becoming an increasingly important labour market in Queensland. Between 2021 and 2026 the Sunshine Coast is estimated to gain workers at a rate 66% higher than the state average of 8%.

The Sunshine Coast will continue to thrive as more people take advantage of the region’s beautiful natural assets, impressive employment opportunities and world-class infrastructure.

If you’re thinking of moving your business or opening a new office location to capitalise on the pool of top talent choosing to call the Sunshine Coast home, the Invest Sunshine Coast team is here to help.

For a confidential discussion about the opportunities available, contact Alex Lever-Shaw from Sunshine Coast Council’s Investment Attraction team on 0407 753 645 or email

Relocating to the Sunshine Coast?

Access our guide to living and working in Australia’s fastest growing region, the Sunshine Coast.

Want to know more?

Trending articles