Ian’s academic career began with a Bachelor of Economics with honours at the University of Queensland, followed by a Master of Economics and Doctor of Philosophy from the Australian National University.
After completing his studies, he moved to Sydney where he joined the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) economic research division. He describes the experience as “perspective broadening” as the focus was very much on macro-economics.
He returned to academia after two years at the RBA, becoming a Senior Lecturer at ANU. He retained his interest in financial market policy however, and this proved to be valuable in his appointment to the Wallis Inquiry into Australia’s financial systems (1996-1997).
Ian moved to Melbourne in mid-1988 and spent four years as a Commerce Professor at Melbourne University before moving to the Melbourne Business School where he spent the next 16 years. Ian was elected Emeritus Professor on his departure from the University of Melbourne in recognition of his service. In addition, Ian is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
From 2005 to 2009, he was the inaugural Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, prior to it being abolished and replaced with Fair Work Australia. The role of the commission was to set and adjust the minimum rates of pay for Australia’s 1.3 lowest paid employees.
He then became a Director at Access Economics and later a Partner when the company was sold to Deloitte. He’s also on a four-person Advisory Board established by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Australia.
From January 2011 to February 2012, he was appointed by the Baillieu government to serve as one of three panellists on the Independent Review of State Finances in Victoria.
In addition to his work in business, government and academia, Ian has also published numerous articles and wrote the book ‘Economics for Life’ which won the 2011 SPCK Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.
Ian’s presentations are accurate and scientific, and also highly entertaining.
"I thought Ian Harper was excellent. With my Finance & Corporate Governance background, I felt that the total presentation was rewarding. Running a Deli these days or any retail business for that matter is very challenging with the likes of Coles and Woolworths at “war” with products and price. Nevertheless, I will pursue ‘The Challenge of Change’ much better prepared."
Director, Sagamara Pty Ltd