Friday, 14 October 2022
West Australian women face the worst gender pay gap in the nation, currently earning on average $471.701 less weekly for the same job.
The pay gap in Western Australia stands at 22.42 per cent, significantly higher than the national pay gap of 14.13 per cent, marking today as the state’s Equal Pay Day and representing the additional 106 days West Australian women must work each year to earn the same wage as their male counterparts.
The gender pay gap is the single largest contributor to the retirement balance disparity, with West Australian women currently retiring with $141,0004 less than men. This is even more alarming considering for every $1 a young female worker contributes to their super today, it is worth $4 in retirement5.
According to modelling released by Aware Super, Australian women face a 168-year6 wait until they achieve equal pay, creating a cumulative $684 billion7 deficit in superannuation guarantee contributions over that period.
Aware Super’s Chief Executive Officer, Deanne Stewart, said inequality of a system where women were retiring with 30 per cent less super than men had been a millstone around the necks of all women for too long.
“There are two timelines to consider when looking at your future super income which is based on your current wage and multiplied over your working life,” Ms Stewart said.
“There’s the now – which is when women are being paid less for the same roles than men – and then there’s the future, which is one where that lower wage means a lower starting point and will be leaving them with a smaller retirement income to live on.”
Ms Stewart called for urgent action from employers across all states to find a practical solution to tackle the societal hurdles underpinning the issue.
“Time is up for organisations that do not tackle the gender pay gap head-on, because the future of our women’s retirement security is at stake,” Ms Stewart said.
“Employers have the power to make positive change today through a range of initiatives such as pay equity audits, or making their organisation’s gender pay equity policy available to all staff.”
Ms Stewart also said any solution to the superannuation pay gap should be in tune with the working lives of women.
“For instance, when women first enter the workforce, there should be policies in place to enshrine equal pay for equal jobs,” she said.
“When they leave the workforce to have children, this is when paid parental leave and a super guarantee on both paid and unpaid parental leave can help to close the gap.
“And when women return to work, affordable and accessible childcare is key to allowing full participation in the workforce, improving both pay and superannuation equity.”
Ms Stewart added Aware Super proactively paid super guarantee on periods of unpaid parental leave and conducted regular pay reviews and analysis. She issued a call for any employer – public or private – to follow their lead.
“When women are paid less than men, it sets up a domino effect of disadvantage for life – all the way to, and then through retirement,” she said.
“As one of the Australia’s leading super funds caring for over 1.1 million members who are primarily our nation’s essential workers, we are passionate advocates for initiatives to redress this imbalance, so the safety net afforded by superannuation is there for all of us.”
1. WGEA Gender Equality Data – August 2022
2. WGEA Gender Equality Data – August 2022
3. WGEA Gender Equality Data – August 2022
4. Aware Super Modelling – August 2022
5. Aware Super Modelling – August 2022
6. World Economic Forum ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2022’ - July 2022
7. Aware Super Modelling SG Employer Contributions – August 2022