Data reveals superannuation pay gap over $100,000

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The gender pay gap has been a hurdle for women’s income for decades, with a lot of organisational work being put in to help close it. While the gap is not as stark as it was when our parents were growing up, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women who work full time are still earning $319.20 less a week than their male counterparts based on seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings. 

Not only does this pay inequality impact Australian women's take home earnings, but their superannuation savings also take a hefty hit. New data from UniSuper reveals that based on the average balances for 38-year-old men and women, there is a $11,102 gap in super savings. This gender super gap increases to a whopping $118,829 when comparing the average balances of 58-year olds!

Due to the compounding interest over the years, women’s super balances start to fall further and further behind. Once Aussies have begun to reach their preservation age and can access their super, the super gap has already increased over ten times. 

“August 25th is Gender Pay Gap Day, and set at 56 days after the new financial year which represents just how many days women essentially ‘work for free’. Women are still earning roughly $300 less a week than men, according to the latest earrings reports from the ABS,” said Rachel Wastell Mozo spokesperson. 

“In 2023, that figure seems mind boggling, but the promising news is that female salaries are increasing at a faster rate (4.6%) year on year than men (3.6%), and that’s encouraging. Days like today are also a great way to put more pressure on governments to implement pay transparency legislation and close the gender pay gap .”

 While there is a silver lining, there is still work to be done to help the pay gap get smaller. Renae Anderson, Manager – Select Advice at UniSuper, said that the decrease in the gap gives women an opportunity to really plan ahead and look at how they’re going to maintain their finances throughout their career. 

Anderson also suggested some ideas to help women manage and boost their super balances, such as considering making ‘catch up contributions’. What is a catch up contribution? Well, if you have not met your concessional contribution cap in past years, you can bring it forward and make those contributions now to help increase your super and make some tax savings. 

Some other things you do to help the health of your super include: 

  • Check your super fees: Make sure you read the fine print to understand how much you are actually paying for your super account. 
  • Research other super funds: You aren’t married to your super fund. If you have just ticked the fund your work has provided or chosen the first one you found - shop around and get a lay of the super fund land to see what options are available. 
  • Consider your investment options: Investing inside your super gives you the opportunity to grow your balance if there is a positive return. Here are the top performing super funds currently in Australia, however it’s important to note that past performance is not an indicator of future performance. We recommend using the help of a financial professional if you are looking to change your super investments.
  • Spousal contributions: If you have a spouse, they can make contributions into your super to help boost the balance depending on your income level and contributions caps. 

If you are interested in learning more about saving for your retirement and making the most of your super, check out our superannuation guides.