Millionaire CEO says he wants 50% increase in unemployment, sparks outragetext_fields
Tim Gurner, a wealthy property developer from Australia and CEO of the Gurner Group, has caused widespread outrage by stating that he wishes to see unemployment increase in his country because he believes workers have become "too arrogant" due to changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Gurner expressed his views during the Australian Financial Review Property Summit in Sydney, asserting that the pandemic had altered employees' work ethic in a negative way, and that they needed to be reminded of their place in the job market through increased unemployment.
"I think the problem that we've had is that 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," Gurner stated.
He went on to argue that a key solution to address what he termed "arrogance" in the labour market is to witness a rise in unemployment. "We need to see unemployment rise. Unemployment has to jump 40 to 50 percent in my view. We need to see the pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around," he emphasised.
Furthermore, Gurner claimed that there has been a systemic shift where employees now believe that employers are fortunate to have them, rather than the other way around. He suggested that this attitude needs to be reversed, even if it means causing economic hardship.
As of now, the unemployment rate in Australia stands at 3.6%, affecting approximately 500,000 individuals. A 50% increase in unemployment, as proposed by Gurner, would translate to an estimated 250,000 workers losing their jobs.
Gurner's comments quickly went viral on social media, eliciting swift backlash from the public. Many criticised his statements as out of touch and insensitive. Even U.S. Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chimed in, referencing CEO-to-worker pay disparities.
In response to the widespread criticism, Gurner posted an apology on LinkedIn, acknowledging that his comments were "deeply insensitive" and expressing regret for not conveying empathy for those affected by job losses and cost-of-living pressures.
Tim Gurner, featured in Forbes Australia and counted among Australia's wealthiest individuals, boasts a net worth of $912 million according to The Australian Financial Review's estimates.