Ryan Bridge says 'some truth' to Australian tycoon Tim Gurner's claim we need higher unemployment to remind workers to value jobs

  • 14/09/2023

AM co-host Ryan Bridge says there "some truth" to an Australian multimillionaire's claim there needs to be some "pain in the economy" to light a fire under "arrogant" employees. 

Property developer Tim Gurner, the owner of Gurner Group, has copped a lot of flak after he made a bewildering call for unemployment to rise 40 to 50 per cent. 

Gurner, who has an estimated net worth of $929 million, said the COVID-19 pandemic had a "massive effect" on productivity, essentially making employees "arrogant" and lazy – especially tradies. 

"They have been paid a lot to do not too much in the last few years, and we need to see that change,” he told Australian Financial Review's Property Summit in Sydney. "I think the problem that we’ve had is that people decided they didn’t really want to work so much anymore through COVID."

"We need to see pain in the economy. We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around. There’s been a systematic change where employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them, as opposed to the other way around. It's a dynamic that has to change."

While Gurner's speech has drawn fierce reaction from the public, including Australian politicians, AM co-host Ryan Bridge supported what he was saying, in part, saying it was a matter of "supply and demand". 

"I think there is some truth, not that I am saying it needs to change, but there is some truth I think when you have incredibly low unemployment and you have most people working and there are jobs aplenty, that dynamic will shift," Bridge told the show. 

He also jokingly suggested he had noticed AM's producers slacking off. 

Co-host Laura Tupou agreed but noted the pandemic could still be to blame. 

"After COVID, people are tired… we are still in a hangover phase so I think that's just the mood of everyone." 

Watch the full video above.