Men’s and women’s super: How does it compare?

The gap between men’s and women’s superannuation levels is closing, according to a new report released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). But there is still some way to go.

Men aged 55 to 64 in 2013-14 had a much higher average super balance than women in the same age group — a mean balance of $321,993 compared with $180,013. There was however less of a discrepancy at 44 years age and younger, although male super balances were still generally higher. The ABS data shows a mean balance for males aged 35 to 44 of $77,949, but females were at $53,660. Males 25 to 34 had $30,760, females $25,015.

The ABS also found that the number of people with no superannuation coverage at all has been declining over the past decade for both men and women, but the difference has halved, down to a 5 percentage point gap. In 2013-14, 25% of women and 20% of men had no superannuation coverage, but the ABS says that 10 years earlier the figures were 34% and 25% respectively.

“Many of the social and economic circumstances of men and women in the last 10 years have seen only minimal change, however the report shows gradual changes in a few areas,” says Lisa Conolly, ABS director of family and community statistics.

One of these changes is in the area of education, with men are catching up to women in completing Year 12. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of male students staying in school increased from 70 to 81%; the number of female students increased from 81 to 87%.

However something the ABS found hasn’t changed much over the last decade is hours of work for men and women. “The latest data shows that women continue to be far more likely to work part-time than men, especially if they have children,” Conolly says.

ABS data shows that 44% of employed women worked part time in 2015-16, compared with 15% of employed men. These relatively high rates of women working part time have remained much the same over the last decade, but there has been a gradual increase in part time work for men, up from 12% a decade ago.

Many more women work part time when they have young children — three in five (62%) with a child under five worked part time, while around 9% of fathers of young children did so.

For more details, see the ABS report here.

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