Senior Partnerships Adviser
A gender pay gap in average annual earnings for full-time permanent employees results in an annual 19.3% shortfall in superannuation contributions for women compared to men, new data shows.
Data collected by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) shows that an average $17,299 difference in annual base salary results in full-time women receiving $1,643 per year less in superannuation contributions* on average than full-time men.
The pay gap for full-time permanent employees is influenced by a range of factors including the concentration of women in lower-paid industries and occupations.
WGEA data shows that 80.4% of employees in health care and social assistance are women, where the average full-time base salary is $67,392 for women and $80,301 for men. Meanwhile just 16% of employees in mining are women, where the average full-time base salary is $101,207 for women and $119,731 for men.
The lowest paid industry is retail trade, with an average full-time base salary of $55,162 for women and $62,183 for men. Nearly six in ten (58.3%) retail employees are women.
The superannuation contribution gap is further compounded by women working part-time (three out of four part-time employees are women) and taking extended periods out of the workforce caring for children and other family members.
Figures from the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia show that women retire on average with 46.6% less superannuation than men.
WGEA Director Libby Lyons said addressing the superannuation gap would have significant benefits for individual women and for the economy.
“Employers can play a key role in addressing the superannuation gap by providing more opportunities for women to access better-paying jobs and to progress into management roles,” said Ms Lyons.
“Our research suggests this can be achieved through developing and implementing company-wide strategies and initiatives such as flexible working arrangements, paid parental leave, and making additional contributions to superannuation.
“Organisations must conduct their own company-wide gender pay gap analysis that is then reported widely but most importantly to the board.
“Addressing the gender imbalances in the workforce is the key for a sustainable superannuation system that provides all Australians with an adequate income in retirement.”
Download the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s submission to the Senate Inquiry into Economic Security for Women in Retirement.
* The superannuation contribution gap is based on 9.5% mandatory contributions as of July 2014.