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Cover image illustration by UNSW Alumni Artist in Residence — Jelena Sinik.


UNSW alumni weigh in on the big ideas shaping 2023


2022 was a year of significant global change. Shifts in technology, politics, science and health have set the stage for what communities and businesses expect out of 2023.

Every year, LinkedIn predicts what big ideas will change our world in the coming year — and so we’ve asked the UNSW alumni experts in those fields to weigh in on 2023. Here's what they had to say...

Hybrid work will be here to stay… but are workplaces ready to take it to the next level?

Image of Dr Kirstin Ferguson AM and quote that reads “Hybrid work isn’t going anywhere soon and will embed itself as a normal part of Australian business life in 2023. However, the minutiae of how hybrid works in practice will cause plenty of cultural challenges within organisations. Flexibility can mean different things to different people and rub points will emerge that will need modern leadership to resolve. Expectations from employees will need to be balanced with what works for the greater good, not ju

Sick of surveillance, workers will go "off grid"

Image of Joshua Handley and quote that reads Some employees might be worried about their boss looking over their shoulder. But there are already laws in place that limit workplace surveillance. Depending on where you live, employers have to follow strict notification requirements before they can start surveying employees at work. Most employers are pretty good at this but employees can sometimes miss the signs… Employees should check their employment contract too. They may have already consented to more than they realise!

A global recession is likely — but it won't last long...

Image of Diana Mousina and quote that reads Low global growth is a certainty in 2023 because interest rates have risen significantly over the past year, but a recession is not a “fait accompli”. It depends on how much further interest rates will be hiked. We think that we are close to the end of the rate hiking cycle across the major economies. There will also be variations in growth across the world. In the US, interest rates are being lifted more than in Australia, so the risk of a serious growth downturn or a recession is higher in the US compared to Australia. The Eurozone is being hit by very high energy prices. China is reopening its economy in 2023 which will lift consumer spending. So while our base case is that a global recession is avoided in 2023, the risk of a downturn or recession is high.

Taxis will take to the skies, for the wealthy

Image of Tom Caska and quote that reads "I think Air Taxi’s will provide opportunities for increased connectivity throughout many parts of the world and not just for the rich! Sure, as the new technology is introduced 'ticket prices' might be on the higher side to help absorb the massive cost of production and implementation. We saw this with Aviation when only the rich and famous could afford to fly. Over a short period of time I think this cost will come down significantly due to the mass production of the machine itself and broader adoption by society. I see EVTOLS as  large drones, just have a look how fast this industry grew and how cost of machines came down. Frequency of flight, smart planning and route coupling will also help drone the cost per mile down. Who knows, it might even be cheaper than getting a ground based Uber! Jetsons here we come!"

Diversity and inclusion will get loud

Image of Katrina Rathie and quote that reads “In terms of D&I, there is a perception in some quarters that people are sick and tired of hearing about diversity because they think it’s done. But smart employers know it’s far from done and for issues like cultural diversity, indigenous and racial representation, it’s only just getting started in Australia.  I agree with Ian Thorpe that D&I will be loud and proud in 2023. Employees see through rainbow washing and tick a box diversity tokenism. They want to work for forward thinking purpose driven companies that genuinely put belonging at the centre of their businesses, walk the talk and reap the huge benefits that proper representation and diversity of thought brings to inclusive organisations."

Our old clothes will become big business

Image of Ranny Rustam and quote that reads “Given the huge environmental footprint that the apparel and footwear sectors have, it's always encouraging to see initiatives that can reduce these impacts.  Second-hand fashion can be a great alternative to traditional retailing, and it is easy to get excited by the numbers. But resale platforms aren't immune to 'greenwashing', so transparency and accountability in the industry to ensure they are helping to drive more sustainable long term buying behaviours rather than leading to more consumption and waste overall is important."”

Will the age of the tech CEO hero will come to an end?

Image of Dan Browckwell and quote that reads “Despite tech's controversies from privacy, to antitrust, to algorithmic bias, to habit-forming product design, the age of the "tech CEO hero" is not coming to an end.  Software continues to radically transform more roles and industries, and those that lead these efforts have the potential to make an incredible impact at scale. Rather, we're seeing a shift in the archetype of what it means to be a great tech CEO. Media and pop culture once idolised founders & CEOs for how fast they moved, how big they grew their businesses, and how many rules they broke along the way. Now, we're seeing a greater spotlight on founders & CEOs who balance profits & purpose, and those who show consideration for long-term consequences not just for customers, but for broader society.”

A global healthcare worker shortage will take a global solution

Image of Dr Danielle McMullen and quote that reads “As a GP, I can feel the pinch of our workforce shortage even in the city. My regional and rural colleagues tell me the situation is even more dire there. Patients are facing increasing waiting times and higher out of pocket costs to see their GP. The cost of running a practice has grown, and Medicare rebates to patients haven’t kept pace. We’ve got an ageing workforce, and fewer medical graduates intend to pursue a career in general practice - only 15% in the latest surveys. This, along with an ageing population who suffer more chronic disease and need more GP time, we’re headed for a shortage of 10,600 GPs in the next decade. To turn this around we’ll need a broad suite of solutions including increased exposure to general practice in medical school and pre vocational training, improvements to remuneration and conditions for GP registrars, and significantly increased support from all levels of government to ensure a resourced, coordinated GP sector. We need to give general practice the credit it deserves as a complex, academically rigorous specialty which also allows for great flexibility, and a rewarding connection with patients and colleagues.”

Crypto, facing a trust crisis, will confront its biggest hurdle: widespread adoption

Image of Tony Song and quote that reads “After the evisceration of trust brought by Luna, Celsius, FTX and countless others, crypto now faces its greatest existential crisis to date. This is the end of an era where regulators gave the industry the benefit of doubt. Now, for any meaningful adoption in the short-medium term, crypto will need to realise real-world benefits, vastly improve its user experience, and ultimately turn to what has always been the foundation of trust in our society – the law.”

We thank the members of our alumni community who are experts in their fields for providing their takes on the ideas shaping 2023.

If you like to read the original LinkedIn article you can find it here.