Mass retrenchment the solution to productivity woes: Australian tycoon

The CEO of Gurner Group made controversial claims that for productivity to increase in Australia, half the working population should be made redundant.
By: | September 15, 2023

Real estate mogul Tim Gurner, one of Australia’s richest men, has courted more controversy by suggesting retrenchment as a way of putting employees in their place.

The CEO and Founder of Gurner Group, who previously declared that millennials could not afford homes because of overspending on avocado toast, said during a recent property summit that the pandemic has changed employees’ attitudes and work ethics for the worse, citing the example of reduced productivity within the housing industry in Australia.

He suggested that Australia’s current unemployment rate of 3.7% should rise by 40-50% – representing 200,000 employees losing their jobs – to reduce “arrogance in the employment market”, reported the BBC.

“There’s been a systematic change where employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them. We need to remind people they work for the employer, not the other way around,” said Gurner.

These comments have been roundly condemned by Australian politicians, with Labour MP Jerome Laxale calling them “comments you’d associate with a cartoon supervillain”, while Liberal MP Keith Wolahan said Gurner “could not be more out of touch.”

READ MORE: Japan pushing for more inclusive corporate leadership

“The loss of a job is not a number. It sees people on the streets and dependent upon food banks,” said Wolahan added.

However, Gurner has his defenders, including Andrew Michelmore, Chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia, who said, “Employees have got used to earning the same amount of money but not putting in the same hours,” said Michelmore.