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Policy reform to match financial literacy efforts would help narrow super gender gap

  Published: 09 Aug 2018

Industry Super Australia has welcomed ASIC’s new Women Talk Money videos, but says narrowing the superannuation gender gap would require policy changes to a system unforgiving of broken work patterns.

The videos, designed to engage and promote informed decision-making, were launched today alongside figures that show women are retiring with an average $230,907 in super and men with $454,221.

Industry Super consumer advocate, Sarah Saunders, welcomed ASIC’s financial literacy efforts and called for policy reforms to match.

“Almost 30 years on, women are still retiring with half the superannuation of men,” she said.

“The super gender gap appears around age 35, typically when women leave the workforce to have children, and, as a result of lost compound returns, steadily widens”.

Saunders said simple policy changes could make a big difference to the gender gap, and, more broadly, reflect the changing, more flexible, nature of work. 

“Policies like adding super to parental leave, and removing the $450 Superannuation Guarantee threshold are worth considering”.

“The threshold currently locks hundreds of thousands of women working part time and casual hours out of the super system.”

Tightly targeted top-ups could also be in the policy mix, she said.

A 2018 Industry Super analysis of ABS data, conducted by former Treasury official Phil Gallagher, shows:

  • The super savings gap between women and men aged 25-34 on the same salary is 14.6 per cent.
  • At retirement age, the upper savings gap between women and men on the same salary is 47.4 per cent.

In 2015, two-thirds of Australia’s 2.7 million unpaid primary carers were women (Carers Australia).

Media contact Phil Davey 0414 867 188

Industry Super Australia provides policy, research and advocacy on behalf of 16 not-for-profit Industry SuperFunds who are the custodians of the retirement savings of six million Australians.

*The above material, whilst correct at the time of publication may include references or statements which are no longer current.

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