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Monday, 6 March 2023

Australian women will be working for free on International Women’s Day, according to one of the country’s largest industry super funds.

Data released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has highlighted an average gender pay gap in Australia of 13.3 per cent. Having applied this pay gap to a ‘typical’ 9am-5pm workday, Aware Super has calculated that as of 3:56pm every day, Australian women are effectively working for free.

“Pay Gap O’Clock symbolises the single greatest impediment to Australian women achieving their best possible financial position at retirement,” said Aware Super’s Chief Executive Officer, Deanne Stewart.

“Our own Commonwealth Government recently declared that Australian women will be underpaid $51.8 billion this year. Another way of saying that, is Australia’s female work force will do $51.8 billion worth of work, for free.

“It’s frankly not good enough and it’s not enough that we talk about this issue a few times throughout the year. That’s why we’ve designated 3:56pm as Pay Gap O’Clock – to put a daily reminder in the diaries of Australian workplaces that as of this time, your female workforce is essentially there for free.”

Using WGEA’s gender pay gap data across all Australian States and Territories, as well as 18 industry sectors, Aware Super has modelled the potential impact of the gender pay gap on the retirement balances of Australian women.

“For most Australians, our compulsory super contributions – currently 10.5 per cent of wages – makes up the largest portion of your superannuation balance at retirement,” said Ms Stewart.

“Because of this, a gender pay gap affects more than your take-home pay. It directly reduces your super contributions, which in turn directly reduces your potential balance at retirement. What makes that eventual gap at retirement even worse is the lost opportunity for compounding returns over time – which can see a dollar invested in super at the start of your working life, worth four dollars by the time you retire.

“Women working in professional, scientific and technical services will experience the greatest impact on their retirement balance from the gender pay gap, with a current industry gap of 21.2 per cent. That translates into women retiring from jobs in this sector with around $149,000 less than their male counterparts.

“Our healthcare sector is just as concerning – a gender pay gap of 21.1 per cent in this sector leads to $131,000 less in retirement for Australia’s healthcare professionals.

“As the fund with more teachers than any other in Australia, we’re also deeply concerned to see the gender pay gap for the Education and Training sector sitting at 10.1 per cent, meaning a $61,000 deficit to women when they retire from this essential role in our communities.” 

To demonstrate the impact of WGEA’s gender pay gap data on Pay Gap O’Clock around the country, Aware Super has published the full list of Pay Gap O’Clock times by both Australian state/territory and industry sector.

Visitors to the site can also download a pay gap data table so they can see the potential impact of their state or sector gender pay gap on their own retirement savings

*Based on WGEA and ABS data, 2022

For media enquiries, contact:

Natalie Wilson, Senior Manager, External Affairs

t:  0402219644


Notes to Editors

Previously known as First State Super, we changed our name to Aware Super in September 2020. 

Aware Super is a name that reflects our members and what we stand for. It echoes the strengths of our past, aligning to our purpose to be a force for good in superannuation, retirement, and advice, driving better outcomes for our members, their families, and communities.

Aware Super has been the fund for people who value community since 1992, and we’re now one of Australia’s largest funds and continuing to grow. We merged with VicSuper and WA Super in 2020 and now manage $150 billion in savings for more than 1 million members located across the country.

Our members work in roles that breathe life into their communities and they expect us to do the same. So, we invest in assets that we believe will make a positive difference today – improving our communities, building a more a sustainable economy and supporting employment both locally and globally at the same time as providing strong long-term returns.

Discover how we’re helping members do well financially while doing good in the world: Visit