Top 50 list of prominent economists highlights women's struggle for recognition in the field
When Shane Oliver’s phone rings, chances are high it’s a journalist on the line.
Mr Oliver, the chief economist of AMP Capital, is the standout performer on a list of Australia’s 50 most prominent economists in the media, racking up 2507 mentions in major print and online publications in 12 months.
His tally - which works out to nearly seven news stories a day - was more than double that of his closest rival, CommSec chief economist Craig James (1041).
Nerida Conisbee from REA Group was third, and the only woman in the top 14 places, having appeared in 959 media items.
The Streem study examined mentions in 25 leading metropolitan newspapers and websites for 12 months from April 2018 to March 2019, and revealed a large gender bias.
The subsequent top 50 list contained just nine women, while another nine made it into the top 100.
But even those women quoted were gazumped by male counterparts; the 18 per cent of women appeared in only 15 per cent of the total stories recorded
Ms Conisbee, whose REA Group is majority owned by News Corp, where most of her appearances occurred, represented more than one third of female economist mentions in the top 50.
If she were to be removed from the data, women would feature in just 10 per cent of the stories generated.
Mr Oliver alone featured in nearly 15 per cent of the stories, with a tally of 2507 media items across 12 months.
Danielle Wood, Chair of the Women in Economics Network and number 50 on the list, told Streem it was hugely disappointing to see so few women economists featured in the media.
(Danielle Wood from the Grattan Institute, and Kaixin Owyong from NAB were two of just nine women to make the list).
“Women make up around 35-40 per cent of economics graduates yet they continue to struggle to find visibility in the profession,” Ms Wood said.
“The skew in media coverage reinforces the ‘image problem’ for economics that it is exclusively the domain of older men.
“Economists play an important role in the public debate explaining markets and critiquing policy so it is crucial we have a diversity of voices in economic coverage.”
Conal Hanna, Streem’s Media and Partnerships Lead, said it was a shame to see only one woman in the list’s top 14 places.
“Economics is about obtaining maximum value from the skills and resources society has to offer. Sadly, it seems the media is not doing that when it comes to tapping into the skills of female economists.”
Speaking about Shane Oliver, the list’s runaway number one, Mr Hanna said while some economists were favoured by particular news outlets Mr Oliver was “simply everywhere”.
“From The Australian Financial Review to the Northern Territory News, Mr Oliver has featured in them all,” he said.
He said copy sharing across various capital city mastheads meant that Mr Oliver wouldn’t be speaking to seven journalists a day, but was appearing in that many stories on average.
The data is restricted to people who are quoted in news stories as “economists”, so doesn’t aim to capture everyone in public life who has economic training. It also doesn’t include op-ed contributions.
Streem delivers comprehensive and realtime Print, Online, TV, Radio and Social media monitoring and insights to Australia’s leading corporate and government media teams. Every day we help organisations to monitor, analyse and respond to media as-it-happens. Find out more.
Top 50 list - rank, economist, company, media items
- Shane Oliver, AMP Capital, 2507
- Craig James, Commsec, 1041
- Nerida Conisbee, REA Group, 959
- Chris Richardson, Deloitte Access Economics, 877
- Saul Eslake, University of Tasmania, 782
- Alan Oster, NAB, 615
- Bill Evans, Westpac, 573
- David Plank, ANZ, 561
- Martin North, Digital Finance Analytics, 555
- Ryan Felsman, Commsec, 444
- George Tharenou, UBS, 412
- Paul Bloxham, HSBC, 357
- Bruce Hockman, ABS, 339
- John Edwards, Lowy Institute, 317
- Sarah Hunter, BIS Oxford Economics, 315
- Tim Reardon, Housing Industry Association, 307
- Daniel Gradwell, ANZ, 301
- Kaixin Owyong, NAB, 299
- Michael Blythe, CBA, 268
- Matthew Hassan, Westpac, 259
- Sally Auld, JP Morgan, 248
- Gareth Aird, CBA, 240
- David de Garis, NAB, 238
- Richard Denniss, The Australia Institute, 237
- Stephen Anthony, Industry Super Australia, 233
- Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne, 232
- Rick Newnham, Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, 226
- Stephen Koukoulas, Market Economics, 219
- Richard Holden, University of NSW, 212
- Stephen Roberts, Laminar Group, 203
- Terry Rawnsley, SGS Economics and Planning, 195
- Andrew Hanlan, Westpac, 177
- John Adams, As Good As Gold Australia, 177
- Ben Jarman, JP Morgan, 172
- Shane Garrett, Master Builders Australia, 171
- Joanne Masters, Ernst & Young, 165
- Marcel Theiliant, Capital Economics, 163
- Felicity Emmett, ANZ, 161
- Jim Stanford, The Australia Institute, 160
- Kristina Clifton, CBA, 159
- David Bassanese, BetaShares, 158
- Belinda Allen, CBA, 153
- Brendan Rynne, KPMG, 153
- Tom Kennedy, JP Morgan, 152
- Callam Pickering, Indeed.com, 147
- Brian Fisher, BAEconomics, 134
- Ivan Colhoun, NAB, 130
- Peter Collins, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 124
- Stephen Duckett, The Grattan Institute, 123
- Danielle Wood , The Grattan Institute, 121