News & Insights

Event Highlights: “Are we heading for growth or recession?” with Shane Oliver


On Thursday, Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist at AMP, Shane Oliver, spearheaded our largest event on record. More than 400 people attended the webinar to hear how the economy is fairing globally and on home soil, and if we are trending towards growth or recession.

We kicked off the event with a poll. It didn’t come as a surprise that 58% of attendees said they felt “somewhere in the middle” about this year’s economic forecast.

Are you feeling positive about the year ahead from an economic point of view?

“There is still a lot of uncertainty and volatility in the economy, and we are at high risk of recession. I’m fairly confident though that we will avoid it,” Shane said.

In February last year, Shane shared his thoughts on inflation, war, interest rates and recession in another fully occupied webinar. Since then, new spending trends have emerged, alongside persistent inflation and interest rates challenges. Shane’s recent presentation provides key context for the global and Australian economy and valuable insights into emerging opportunities.


As an investment backdrop, the global economy is impacted by several megatrends. These include geopolitical issues, tensions in the Middle East, bigger government and less rationalist economic policies, decarbonisation, messy economic conditions in China and slowing workforce growth. This means we are likely to see a more inflation-prone world, with higher interest rates than before the pandemic and constrained growth, which leads to constrained investment returns.

Global growth is likely to slow in the first half of 2024 due to the lagged effects of monetary tightening leading to weaker growth, as confirmed by various leading indicators. However, Shane predicts we will have a tougher calendar year compared to last year but will pick up and find momentum towards 2025.

The global economy

The top trends for the global economy include:

  • Global inflation pressures have almost normalised, allowing central banks to ease this year. Inflation of “sticky services” due to strong wage growth and supply shocks are risks though
  • Tensions in the Middle East have increased shipping costs, but not as much as the increase during COVID-19
  • Wages growth remains a risk but should cool as unemployment is starting to rise from multi-decade lows
  • Central banks should be at the top, including in Australia where mortgage rates have increased more and household debt servicing is at a record high. However, don’t ignore the risk of central banks overtightening.

The Australian economy 

Prominent trends in the Australian economy include:

  • Momentum in the Australian economy slowed throughout 2023, leading to a “per capita recession”. Expect GDP growth around 1.5% this year
  • Australian households are under pressure. Household real income has fallen with a sharp rise in tax payable and mortgage payments
  • Australian households are tightening their spending. Household savings accumulated during COVID are now falling and real per capita retail sales are falling
  • The improvement in Australia’s fiscal situation has been mostly luck and the budget is still expected to return to a deficit. Changes to Stage 3 tax cuts are a backwards step for tax reform.

5 reasons to be optimistic

  • Inflation has rolled over, without a recession, and productivity growth is picking up
  • Interest rates are at or close to peaking
  • Economic growth has so far provoked relatively resilient
  • In Australia, the budget is back in surplus (at least for now) and exhort earnings to remain high
  • Any recession is likely to be mild reflecting a lack of over-investment or over-consumption that needs to be unwound

Final words

“We have seen an increase in redundancies, especially at senior levels,” said Moir Group’s Director Stephen Moir. “In saying that, people are finding new roles quickly. We have noticed that the consumer discretionary and property sectors are struggling the most. It’s during these uncertain times that finance and accounting comes to the fore. Companies need good finance and accounting staff to guide them through these times. We are seeing good employment opportunities and remain optimistic at Moir Group,” he added.


If you would like further support, information, or resources on this topic, please contact us.

If you have any recruitment needs in your team on a permanent or a temporary basis we would be delighted to assist.

Moir Group is a specialist finance, accounting and ESG recruitment company. We cover temporary and permanent roles from Assistant Accountant to CFO level. We also recruit Sustainability / ESG Manager roles to Chief Sustainability Officer roles across all industry sectors.

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