Address to Economic and Social Outlook Conference

Melbourne, 2 November, 2023

Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Ai Group


To know where we are going, we need to look at how we got to where we are now.

Our economy and the employment market has undergone massive upheaval in the past few years, driven largely by the immediate and lingering impacts of COVID and our subsequent response, after decades of relative stability and, one could argue, some underperformance, especially on the productivity front.

We are now in a period of relatively high inflation and relatively low unemployment as well as underemployment with cost of living and cost of business pressures weighing on both inflation and employment.

The old normal has been upended but our productivity challenge still looms large.

As we look to the future our labour market is drum tight, our skills needs are immense and the rapidly changing environment around us is challenging.

So, can we achieve the daily double of low inflation and low unemployment?

I want to look at the situation through the lens of "structural unemployment", not just now but into the future, and look at how to address our needs starting with our basics, our foundations, in meeting our skills needs which will then drive better employment prospects and outcomes.

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