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Employer gender pay gaps released: How can you save your super?

Mark Bristow avatar
Mark Bristow
- 4 min read
Employer gender pay gaps released: How can you save your super?

Gender pay gaps for nearly 5000 Australian private sector employers have been published for the first time. Whatever their industry or employer, Australian women may be able to take steps to manage the effect of the gender pay gap on their personal finances, from their savings to their superannuation. 

How big is Australia’s gender pay gap?

New data released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has revealed a 21.7% gender pay gap across all industries and employers. This means that for every dollar a man earns, a woman is earning 78 cents. 

Some of the key statistics from the WGEA include:

  • 50% of employees work in an industry dominated by one gender
  • 78% of CEOs are men
  • 26% of boards do not have any women members (though 25% of boards are gender balanced, with at least 40% men and women)
  • 63% of employers offer employer-funded parental leave
  • 14% of all paid primary carer parental leave is taken by men

The WGEA report also named and shamed the industries and individual companies with the biggest gender pay gaps, with 50% of employers having a gender pay gap of over 9.1%.

“There is significant variation in the gender pay gap across different industries, ranging from the Construction Industry where the mid-point employer gender pay gap is 31.8% to the Accommodation and Food Services Industry with a mid-point employer gender pay gap of 1.9%.”

It was found that additional payments such as bonuses, overtime, superannuation and commissions contributed more than a third (37.4%) to the WGEA median total remuneration gender pay gap. These payments were found to be more common - and larger - in male-dominated industries, and tended to benefit employees in the highest-paid roles, who are more likely to be men. 

What does this mean for the personal finance of Australian women?

With Australian women earning less money on average than Australian men, this can make a significant impact on their personal finances. A lower income means less money can be put aside to achieve savings goals, or used to help service a loan to buy a home or a car. This is compounded by the “pink tax”, where items targeted or marketed towards women have a higher cost than comparable products targeted towards men.

But one of the biggest impacts that the gender pay gap makes on Australian women is how it affects their ability to retire comfortably. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), women generally have lower super balances than men, with the gap starting to widen from age 30 onwards. By retirement age, the median super balance for women is around 25% lower than for men.

Median superannuation balances for males and females at various ages

Age

Median balance male ($)

Median balance female ($)

22

5000

5000

25

11,000

11,000

30

32,000

28,000

35

61,000

49,500

40

92,000

67,000

45

126,000

87,000

50

156,000

105,000

55

181,000

123,000

60

204,000

148,000

65

215,000

191,000

66

216,000

202,000

Source: AFSA 1 November 2023

How to close the gender pay gap

Systemic social inequalities such as the gender pay gap won’t be solved overnight. Some of the steps that could be taken to help ease the financial pressure on Australian women and their working families include:

  • Conducting an audit to understand the size of the gender pay gap
  • Reporting the findings to management and employees
  • Setting KPIs for leadership to reduce the gender pay gap
  • Taking action to increase the number of women in leadership positions
  • Encouraging men to access flexible work arrangements and leave entitlements.
  • Helping women to negotiate their salaries
  • Encouraging paternity leave
  • Providing flexible work arrangements

How can you retire more comfortably?

Compare super funds

Product database updated 16 Apr, 2024

This article was reviewed by External Comms Lead Eden Radford before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.