Recent research by Per Capita in partnership with the Australian Services Union (ASU) surveyed 4000 workers and used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the analysis of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey to consider superannuation and women’s retirement outcomes.
The report Not So Super, For Women paints a bleak picture for women who fall behind early in super and hit obstacles throughout their working lives, meaning that their comparable super savings never catch up.
At the recent ACTU Congress ASU National Secretary David Smith, along with Per Capita, highlighted the reasons why super was failing for women, but also explored solutions arising from the research.
Recent data from the ABS indicates that the gender pay gap for women is currently 10% lower than men for equivalent work, with women’s pay across the workforce sitting at 31% lower.
Women are much more likely to work in part time or casual work. They contribute less to super and have less savings outside of super. Very significantly, they spend less time in the workforce than men, thereby reducing their super savings. A recent survey showed that over 55% of women had experienced periods out of the workforce to care for children and other family members. Less than 12% of men had taken similar time off work.
Interestingly having children has a positive impact on men’s super balances. Statistically men with children are at the top of the income distribution hierarchy, childless men are next, closely followed by childless women, and women with children are at the bottom. This becomes a critical situation for many single mothers or in circumstances of marriage breakdown.