Super gender gap slowly narrowing: Roy Morgan

20 April 2023
| By Jasmine Siljic |
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According to research hub Roy Morgan, gender differences in superannuation fund ownership and average balances have marginally closed over the last decade. 

New results had been released from Roy Morgan’s single source survey, which conducted in-depth interviews with more than 500,000 Australians over the last 10 years, including over 300,000 with super. 

In 2012, only 66.2 per cent women had a super account alongside 74.8 per cent of men. A decade later, the gap of 8.6 per cent decreased to 3.9 per cent in 2022, with 70.9 per cent of women having super and 74.8 per cent of men. 

The data found that women’s average super balances had grown faster than men’s since 2012. Average balances for women over the last decade grew by 38 per cent to $154,000. In comparison, men’s balances increased by 26 per cent to $216,000.

Despite the growth, women’s balances made up only 71.2 per cent of the male average. 

The figure was 6.5 per cent higher than a decade ago, when super for a woman constituted only 64.7 per cent of what the average man held. 

“At this rate of increase, it will take another 50 or so years before the gender gap in average superannuation balances is finally eliminated,” said Michele Levine, Roy Morgan chief executive.

“The gender gap in superannuation has increasingly come into focus in recent years as women’s workforce participation has increased but the disparity in average superannuation between men and women has persisted with only marginal improvements over the last decade.”

Last month, Morningstar had described the gap as ‘disheartening’, particularly in light of those aged 55–59 exhibiting the largest difference in super balances with a gap of $44,400 (or 30 per cent) between men and women.

Women earning much lower average incomes than working men was the main factor causing the noticeable difference in super balances. 

“Clearly part-time work is associated with a lower annual income than full-time work and this continues to contribute to the ongoing gender superannuation gap,” the CEO recognised. 

Alongside lower average incomes, women were more likely to have interrupted employment that further impacted average balances. 

“Despite these negative factors operating against them, women have made gains in closing the superannuation gap to men — although progress is slow and additional policy actions should be seriously considered to close the gender superannuation gap,” Levine said.

Other solutions such as encouraging more women to seek a financial adviser and paying super on the Parental Leave scheme had been put forward to address the issue.

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