Tackling the pay gap in Australia

It may come as no surprise but a pay gap between men and women in Australia still exists.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, on average full-time working women earn 17.9% less than men1. While the gap has decreased slightly since August 2013, the national gender pay gap has hovered between 15% and 18% for the last two decades.

The good news is that many employers are addressing the gap to ensure their staff are paid more fairly.

Last year, a study by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), revealed that a quarter of all respondents had undertaken a gender pay gap analysis in the last 12 months and half the organisations had plans to conduct an analysis in the coming 12 months2.

Having gender equality in the workplace makes good sense. The benefits to organisations can include:

  • becoming an employer of choice
  • attracting and retaining the most skilled employees, and
  • improving staff retention, which reduces turnover costs3.

The effects on women’s super

A number of factors have influenced the gender pay gap in the past, such as few women in leadership positions, a lack of flexible or part-time roles and the fact that women tend to spend more time out of the work force having children and caring for their families.

With women moving in and out of the work force, the gender pay gap extends to their super balance as well. This can have a flow-on effect through to retirement.

While the gap between the super balances of men and women is large, there has been some progress within the last decade. In the 12 months to June 2015, women with super had an average balance of $101,900 compared to the men’s average balance of $158,000.

This means that women have about 64.5% of the average men’s balance which is an improvement on a decade ago when it was just 57.6%4.

Closing the gap in the workplace

There are initiatives that employers can introduce to respond to the specific needs of their workplace:

  1. Analyse payroll data of women and men doing the same work
  2. Conduct a workplace profile to determine if there’s an under-representation of women at different levels within the organisation
  3. Make remuneration policies and practices transparent
  4. Provide flexible working arrangements to encourage women to return to the workplace.

You can find free tools on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website. 

How we can help

AMP can support your employees with their superannuation needs.

We can help your employees to start thinking about how they close the super gap by boosting their super now. Our education program delivers simple strategies on things such as consolidating their super into one account or setting up salary sacrifice contributions, which could go a long way to getting the retirement lifestyle they want.

Throughout 2015, we’ve produced educational content via our News & insights publications about planning time off work and the financial impacts of maternity leave. We’re also working on a specific program for engaging women with their super and finances more broadly for 2016.

If you’d like to know more, visit amp.com.au or get in touch with your account manager.


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