Gender gap narrows, but work still needed

The latest statistical analysis provided by the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has shown a significant increase in women’s share of retirement savings balances over the past 23 years.

The figures revealed that in 2015/16 the proportion of the $2.3 trillion superannuation pool attributable to men was 61.2 per cent, with 38.7 per cent attributable to women.

This was a marked increase from 1994, when women held only 23 per cent of the total amount of superannuation money saved.

In regard to average member balances, the movement has been consistent over the past four years for both sets of members, with men achieving an average super balance of $111,853 and women $68,499 in the 2016 financial year.

This compares to 2013/14 when the average retirement savings balance for men was $98,535 and for women $54,916.

The most recent figures reflect even greater growth when examined against the 2011/12 data where men had an average superannuation balance of $82,615 and women $44,866.

However, the statistics showed women continue to retire with lower super balances, retiring on average with a balance of $157,050 in 2015/16 compared with $270,710 for men.

This was an improvement from the 2013/14 numbers, where women had average super balances at retirement age of $138,150 compared to an average of $292,500 for men.

ASFA chief executive Martin Fahy said greater social equality and better retirement outcomes could only be achieved if the disparity between the superannuation balances of men and women was properly addressed.

In addition, Fahy pointed out a lot more work in this area was needed.

“While women can look forward to retiring with more superannuation than their mothers and grandmothers, the ongoing issue of broken employment patterns and a troubling persistent gender pay gap means we cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.

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