Retirement, Superannuation

No material change in super gender gap

The average super balances of intending retirees over the past decade have more than doubled for both men and women, but females remain well behind the male average, with real improvements expected to take some considerable time, new research from Roy Morgan has revealed.

The latest “Single Source Survey” found the average super balance held by women intending to retire in the next 12 months is $177,000, equal to only 57.3 per cent of the male average at $309,000.

An estimated 392,000 people intend to retire in the next 12 months.

According to Roy Morgan, no real progress is being made in closing the gender gap in super.

The average super balance held by female intending retirees in 2008 was $79,000, or only 55.2 per cent of the male average of $143,000.

“Despite a great deal of publicity being given to this issue over the last decade in an attempt to close the gender gap in super, there has been no real progress,” the survey said.

“This is evidenced by the fact that it has taken 10 years for the female average super balance for intending retirees to move from 55.2 per cent of the male average to 57.3 per cent.”

Roy Morgan industry communications director Norman Morris said despite real gains in employment for women over the past decade, they still lagged men when it came to full-time and overall employment levels.

“This has been one of the major reasons that overall female income levels are around 25 per cent lower than males, which obviously in turn leads to lower super contributions and balances when compared to males,” Morris noted.

“The end result of this lower income and interrupted employment being more likely for women has been that over the last decade they have been unable to close the gap to males and generally show inadequate super for retirement.

“It is likely to take some considerable time and changes to super conditions for females to achieve an adequate level of super more equivalent to their male counterparts.”

He added retirement funding is not just about superannuation, with the survey also considering other important factors such as the level of other investments, home ownership, debt levels, personal and household incomes, and financial attitudes.

The survey is based on in-depth personal interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 Australians a year in their own home, including over 2200 with people who intend to retire in the next 12 months.

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