After three years of pandemic-induced disruptions and volatility, Australian industry enjoyed much more stable business conditions in 2023. But as industry leaders look out into the new year, they have real worries about uncertainty and stagnation in 2024.

Since 2012, Ai Group has annually surveyed CEOs and business leaders from across Australian industry. These sectors – which include manufacturing, construction, technology and supply chain and technical services – provide the industrial foundation for national prosperity.

This year, over 300 senior leaders from Australian industry responded to our CEO Expectations Survey. This report, based upon their responses, provides critical insights into how industry leaders anticipate the coming year will evolve.

Australia’s industry leaders go into 2024 with significantly more caution and concern than the year before. They expect business conditions and performance to be mediocre, and well below the strong results of 2022 and 2023.

They have identified three challenges which will define their priorities in 2024:

  1. Uncertainty, as political and economic volatility cast a shadow over global and Australian economic performance;
  2. Ongoing supply-side challenges, as persistent inflation alongside ongoing labour shortages pose cost pressures and further erode margins; and
  3. Weakening demand-side conditions, as the slowing national economy offers fewer opportunities for growth.


Industry leaders are making productivity a focus to survive in this more difficult environment. They plan to invest in technology and innovation, focus on business improvement to better control costs, and will invest in upgrading the skills of their current workforce.

These productivity-oriented strategies are very welcome, given Australia’s poor productivity performance in recent decades. They will also be instrumental in ensuring industry is best positioned to succeed in an uncertain, slowing but supply constrained economic context.

Innes Willox
Chief Executive, Australian Industry Group

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