The super system is delivering bigger super balances across the community and lifting the living standards of retirees, says the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
“However, while women now have a bigger slice of superannuation benefits, they are still behind men when it comes to average balances,” said ASFA.
The average balance in 2015/16 was $111,853 for men and $68,499 for women, based on an analysis of the latest ABS statistics.
This is “well up”, ASFA says, compared to 2013/14 when it was $98,535 for men and $54,916 for women. In 2011/12 if was $82,615 for men and $44,866 for women.
“In percentage terms, men held 61.2 per cent of total super account balances in 2015–16 compared to around 38.7 per cent for women. The estimated share for women in 1994 was 23 per cent.”
Superannuation balances saw considerable growth between 2013/14 and 2015/16. Average super balances of women grew by 24.73% over the period, compared to 13.52% for men, leaving the super gap down very slightly, at $43,354.
ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy said addressing this gap was imperative for greater social equality and better retirement outcomes.
“While women can look forward to retiring with more superannuation than their mothers and grandmothers, the ongoing issue of broken employment patterns and a troubling persistent gender pay gap means we cannot afford to be complacent,” he said.
The average super balance at the time of retirement in 2015/16 was $270,710 for men and $157,050 for women.
ASFA recommends removing the $450 monthly threshold for receiving Super Guarantee, increasing the SG rate to 12% as soon as possible, paying super on paid parental leave and allowing catch-up contributions for people with low balances.