- Australian CEO Sparks Outrage with Call for a 50% Rise in Unemployment.
- Millennials' Spending Habits and Pandemic Work Ethics in the Spotlight.
- Public Figures and Politicians Weigh in on the Growing Income Gap.
An Australian multimillionaire expressed profound regret for his controversial remarks. Tim Gurner, the CEO of the esteemed real estate firm, the Gurner Group, faced substantial criticism after suggesting that unemployment should surge by as much as 50% to cultivate a more industrious workforce.
Gurner, a notable figure known for stirring the pot, first gained notoriety in 2017 when he asserted that millennials should curtail their expenditures on luxuries like smashed avocado and pricey lattes to save for their initial homes. His latest comments, delivered at a business forum in Sydney, revolved around how the COVID-19 pandemic had seemingly altered employees' work ethics.
At the forum, he contended that "we need to see pain in the economy" and advocated for a 40-50% surge in unemployment to realign expectations. He remarked, "People decided they didn't really want to work so much anymore through COVID. They have been paid a lot to do not too much in the last few years, and we need to see that change." He added, "We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around."
Gurner's remarks went viral, with over 23 million views on social media. In the wake of criticism from politicians and labor unions, he issued an apology, acknowledging the insensitivity of his comments towards employees, tradespeople, and families grappling with the rising cost of living and job losses. Gurner emphasized the importance of such discussions while admitting that his words were misguided.
He stated on LinkedIn, "I want to be clear: I do appreciate that when someone loses their job, it has a profound impact on them and their families, and I sincerely regret that my words did not convey empathy for those in that situation." The fallout from his comments also drew the attention of US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who highlighted the growing income disparity between CEOs and workers.
Latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, released on Thursday, indicated a steady unemployment rate of 3.7%. However, Michele Bullock, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, had previously cautioned in June that the jobless rate would need to rise to 4.5%, potentially resulting in around 140,000 job losses, to curb inflation.
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