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Inside Retail & Rest Industry Super

IWD ambition highlights gender disparity in superannuation assets

(Source: Bigstock.)

This week’s International Women’s Day provided an opportunity to bring into sharp focus the growing disparity between the superannuation balances of Australians come retirement. 

According to a KPMG report*, women in their early sixties retire with 28 per cent less super than their male counterparts. 

“These figures are startling, but they don’t have to stay this way. There are strategies available to help bridge the gap. Understanding super can be critical in shaping the ultimate retirement balance of a working Australian,” says Deborah Potts, group executive of employer and industry engagement. 

“This International Women’s Day we’re working on ways we can work together with employers to close the super gap and advance gender equity.

“At Rest, 59 per cent of our members are female, which explains why we are strong advocates for a fairer super system that helps to close the gender super gap,” says Potts. 

Several factors contribute to women retiring with less than men. Aside from an average gender pay gap of 14.2 per cent, women are more likely to work part-time and take career breaks from the workforce, accounting for 93 per cent of the primary carer’s leave used. 

“We’re passionate about empowering our female members with the financial literacy and confidence they need to make informed decisions about their super. Given the specific challenges women face, one of our initiatives, available to Rest employers, is a workplace digital education session called Women and Super,” says Potts.

On the week of International Women’s Day, there’s no better time for employers to get their workplaces involved. 
“Our Women and Super sessions have been structured around “Sally’s Story” – following Sally’s financial pathway, right from her very first job, all the way through to the twilight years of her career. By talking about super based on a person’s life stage, attendees are able to identify with the various scenarios and decisions available to them, making super simpler than ever,” Potts says. 

The sessions illustrate the value of making informed decisions about super, as well as during key moments of career transition, with case studies that demonstrate the financial benefits of earlier action.  

“Continuing to share our stories and lived experiences can help keep the conversation going year-round and address some of the key issues facing retail employers and workers,” says Potts. 

Rest CEO, Vicki Doyle, recently added her voice to the Australian Retailers Association International Women’s Day event, shining a spotlight on gender equality in the retail sector – another way in which Rest is committed to addressing key issues facing retail employers and workers. 

The focus on the gender disparity of superannuation assets is timely given that International Women’s Day is all about fighting for equality in all areas of humanity, race, and equity. 

This year’s International Women’s Day theme was ‘Break the Bias’, with the United Nations announcing its official theme as ‘Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow’.

Research has repeatedly shown that gender equality is good for the economy. If women transitioned from tertiary education into the workforce at the same rate as men, the Australian economy would gain $8 billion, while businesses with at least 30 per cent women in leadership positions are 15-per-cent more profitable.  

If there is a single takeaway from the above, it’s that there are steps available to all of us, at home or in the workplace, that can help us to make true strides towards a sustainable and fair future for all. 

*The median super balance for men aged 60-64 years is $204,107 whereas for women in the same age group it is $146,900, a gap of 28 per cent. The Gender Superannuation Gap, Addressing the options KPMG, 2021. 

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