It's time to bridge the super gender gap

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Men have $282 billion more in their super funds and on average retire with $90,000 more in their account than women, new analysis reveals.

Industry Super Australia (ISA) research reveals that the gender pay gap persists and even widens when it comes to retirement savings.

On International Women's Day ISA and Women In Super (WIS) are calling on the federal government to make some simple changes that could help bridge the super gender gap, including paying super on Commonwealth paid parental leave, abolishing the $450 threshold and sticking to the legislated super rate increase.  

Analysis of tax file and ABS data reveals that on average women retire with 40 per cent less super than men. But as the table below shows women have less super at every stage in life.

A recent retirement survey, commissioned by ISA, found that on average women spend 12 years less in the full-time workforce than men, this time away from work is having a dramatic impact on their super balance.

The super balance gender gap begins to expand when a woman hits her 30s, the average super balance gap doubles from 15 per cent at 30 to 30 per cent once a woman reaches her 40s.

Men also receive $11 billion more in employer contributions each year than women.      

One in three women retire with no super balance at all, according to a 2016 Senate report.

Contributing to the gender super gap is:
·      That women are still more likely to leave the paid workforce to do unpaid caring work for children or other family members,
·       Wages in female dominated sectors such as nursing and teaching are lower than in male dominated sectors such as mining,
·       Generally lower wages for women than their male counterparts when doing the same work,
·      Women are more likely to have multiple jobs – often part-time – giving them more than one low-balance account.     

ISA and WIS has also called on the government to abolish the $450 super contributions threshold – where super is only paid if an employee earns more than $450 a month. The threshold impacts low-income and casual workers – a group that is over-represented by women.

Paying super on Commonwealth paid parental leave will help parents' balance keep accumulating while taking time off from paid work and sticking to the legislated increase of the super guarantee rate to 12 per cent will give women the opportunity to put more money away during their working life.

 
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