Despite an increase in the average superannuation balances of both men and women, a significant gender gap still remains, says the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
Data compiled for ASFA by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicated that average super balances for 2013-14 were up 20 per cent from 2011-12 – $98,535 for men and $54,916 for women.
ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos said: “Even though account balances are increasing overall for women, the statistics still show that men are more likely to have superannuation than women, and also that men on average have a higher account balance.
“In many cases, broken work patterns and lower average wages still impede on women's ability to save for retirement.”
ASFA said the average balance for men at the time of retirement was $292,500 in 2013-14, while for women it came in at $138,150.
According to ASFA, women have experienced a lesser percentage increase than men in average balance at the time of retirement, with the average balance for men increasing by 48.5 per cent over the two years to 2013-14 compared to 31.6 per cent for women.
Moreover, the share of superannuation assets held by women, currently at 36.4 per cent, has also plateaued over the four years to 2013-14.
“ASFA has proposed a number of options for improving the economic security of women in retirement, including raising and broadening the superannuation guarantee, retaining the Low Income Superannuation Contribution Scheme and amending annual contribution caps to enable people with broken working patterns to 'catch up' their superannuation contributions," Ms Vamos said.
ASFA argued that government, employers and individuals must take action on the gender disparity within super.
“It is great to see that average superannuation account balances are rising, but there is still a way to go to ensure that the majority of Australians can retire in comfort,” Ms Vamos said.
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