More attention needs to be paid to different age groups in assessing the gender gap in superannuation savings, believes Equip.
Last week the Melbourne based research house Roy Morgan released a study which showed, in the 12 months to June 2015, women with superannuation had an average balance of $101,900 compared to men with an average of $158,100.
This is equivalent to only 64.5 per cent of the male average balance. An improvement from a decade ago (2005) when it stood at 57.6 per cent.
However, Equip’s research into its own membership base as part of its ‘move the dial’ program suggests the overall figure misses big differences between younger and older women.
Breaking Equip’s data down by age group shows younger women are faring quite well compared to older age groups, with the account balances of 30-39 year olds standing at 92 per cent of the fund’s average male balance. The age group with the least difference were between the ages of 0-19 at 99 per cent.
Geoff Brooks, executive officer of strategic marketing and communications at Equip, said this would naturally lift the figures over the entire population.
“Certainly [this is] not an empirical representation across the entire population, but provides some supporting evidence to suggest that younger women may be better placed to close the gender savings gap over time,” Brooks said.
The chart also shows the impact of breaks from work for women in their late 20s – on average women in this bracket had 86 per cent of the savings of a male counterpart. After age 40 the gap got worse before improving at age 60.
Brook cautioned against placing too much store in the fund’s data for those over 60, as the sample size of female members in this age group was relatively small and may be skewed towards women in relatively well paid professional or managerial careers.
Equip’s data on female v. male balances (excluding defined benefit members) is captured on a monthly basis.