Banking giant ANZ will pay an extra $500 a year to women employees with low superannuation balances in an effort to close the gender gap in retirement savings.
The bank will provide the top-ups to women with superannuation balances of less than $50,000, while superannuation contributions on parental leave will be paid for up to 24 months.
The moves come after an ANZ-commissioned report found full-time working women earn on average $700,000 less throughout their lifetime than men and are more likely to retire in poverty.
ANZ boss Mike Smith said the bank was committed to pay equality for women, and gender equality, including equal representation for women in senior leadership roles, was a priority for the business.
“Promoting diversity and gender equality is a priority in our business,” he said.
“Much more still needs to be done though to achieve full gender equality in the workplace and while we recognise we’re not there yet, today’s announcement is about rethinking how we address the imbalances women face in the workplace and in retirement.”
The ANZ Women’s Report: Barriers to Achieving Gender Equity looked at the financial experiences of women from birth to grave, finding that those working full time earn $15,000 a year less than men.
Over a typical 45-year career, the pay gap means women end up retiring from the workforce with $700,000 less than men.
They are also more likely to end their careers with, on average, around half as much superannuation as men and to be 15 per cent more likely to experience poverty in retirement.
That’s despite women between the ages of 25 to 29 being more likely to hold a university degree.
“Unfortunately, Australian women are more likely to retire in poverty than men,” the report said.
“This is largely because they are paid less for the same work and they often revert to part-time jobs to assume child rearing or family responsibilities at some point in their lives.”
The report found that the main reason many women continue to earn lower wages than men for similar work was simply because of their gender.
Typecasting around educational and employment choices continues to play a role in the gap, leading to women being over-represented in lower-paid work.
“Some occupations remain skewed by gender due to lingering stereotypes about the types of roles women and men should follow and the flexibility offered in those roles,” the report said.
In Australia’s most lucrative industries, including mining and financial services, women tend to be employed in lower-paying jobs, such as administration.
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick said time spent out of paid employment to care for others continued to affect women’s lives disproportionately.
“I have often asked myself: `Is poverty to be the reward for a lifetime spent caring?’” she said.
“This is where many women in Australia are at.”
Barriers to financial gender equality
- Women make up 35 per cent of the full-time workforce.
- Women’s pay packets are an average 18.8 per cent less than men.
- Female uni graduates earn on average $3000 less a year.
- Women spend almost twice as much time on unpaid work.
- Just 20.4 per cent of ASX 200 board members are female.
- 90 per cent of women will retire with inadequate savings.
- One in five women yet to retire have no superannuation.
(Source: ANZ Women’s Report)
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