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How will the gender pay gap affect your super?

Due to a number of social, economic and biological factors women are retiring with on average 47% less superannuation than men1. Find out how the super gap will affect your retirement.

The average super balance for a female of your age is $0

The average super balance for a male of the same age is $0

This equates to $0 or a 0% difference.

The ASFA recommends a super balance of $545,000 for a comfortable retirement. Unfortunately only 22% of females and 31% of males achieve this target.

When super isn’t so super

The disparity of super balances between men and women is decreasing, and will continue to decrease as new generations of women spend more time in the workforce than their mothers and grandmothers, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

According to the ASFA Retirement Standard a single person requires $545,0002 to retire comfortably. So unfortunately, until the gap is addressed, many individuals will retire with inadequate superannuation savings.

Time out of the workforce to have children or provide care will impact your super

Sarah Saunders, ISA Head of Consumer Advocacy

Super in numbers

  • Around 58% of Australia’s total superannuation assets are held by those aged 50-693

  • Around 45% of females aged 65-69 report having no superannuation4

  • It is estimated that more than 40% of older single women live in poverty5

  • 1 in 4 men and 1 in 3 women report having no superannuation savings6

Accounting for the gap

Though the gender pay gap accounts for a large percentage of the super gap, there are a number of other contributing factors that are social, biological and economic which are harder to address.

  • Maternity leave

    5 years out of the paid labour force for a person on average earnings during their early 30s will reduce the eventual retirement account balance by over $80,0007.

  • Pay gap

    The WGEA scorecard shows that full-time working women earn a base salary that is about 18% less8, and a total remuneration that is more than 22% less9, than full-time working men.

  • Industry

    Men and women are not distributed evenly across different industries, and female dominated industries like nursing and teaching tend to attract lower wages.

  • Under representation in senior roles

    Men make up the vast majority of senior executive and board level positions which are rewarded with a much higher annual salary.

  • Tax concessions

    The bottom 30% of income earners who are predominantly women receive no government tax concessions, while the top 20% of income earners receive $10,000 per year10.

  • Life span

    Women typically retire earlier than men and on average live longer, and therefore require more superannuation to retire on comfortably.

  • Part-time and casual work

    Women currently make up more than 71% of all part-time employees11, working in part-time or casual capacity, leaves them with less working hours to build their super balance.

Closing the gap

Fixing the super gap isn’t the responsibility of women, if super is going to be made fair, it’s about big changes at a government level.

Super freeze

The Super Guarantee Freeze came into effect September 2014, and brought an end to the previously legislated increase in the Superannuation Guarantee to 12%.

The decision to freeze mandatory super contributions at 9.25% and subsequent decisions to delay the projected increase to 12% until July 2025 were based largely on the impacts on small and medium business and the economy, but it will result in the majority of Australians retiring with a significantly reduced superannuation fund.

The onus is on government to ensure the super system works for all of us

Sarah Saunders, ISA Head of Consumer Advocacy

The legislative changes proposed by Industry SuperFunds are:

  • Ensuring there are no further delays in increasing employer super contributions from the current 9.5% to 12%.
  • Paying super during paid parental leave is compulsory for employers so it is in line with all other types of leave.
  • Lifting the rule that those who earn less than $450 a month are not entitled to superannuation contributions from employers.
  • Addressing the super tax concessions that are currently skewed to benefit men. Women receive only a third of government tax concessions on super, while men who have higher incomes receive two thirds of the concessions.