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Moving the dial on women's superannuation

Superannuation  |  26/02/2019  |   7 min read

Equip launched the award winning Move the Dial tool in 2015. Designed to help bridge the superannuation savings gap, it empowers women to take control of their finances, and plan a better retirement.

With International Women’s Day fast approaching, we decided to revisit the initiative, and see if the savings gap had narrowed.


Looking back

In 2008, only 57% of women had a superannuation account, and the average balance was $68,000. For comparison, the average male balance was $115,000.

There are a variety of reasons for that disparity, including lower wages, maternity leave, and the need for part time work when raising a family. But it leaves women with less economic options in later life, and reduced living standards.

While change has been slow, we’re starting to see results. The average woman’s super balance has grown by 87% over the last decade to reach $127,000. Men’s balances have grown by 53% and currently sit on $176,000.

Average Superannuation Balance and Ownership Level — Males vs. Females


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Australians 14+, 12 months to August 2008, n = 52,420 and 12 months to August 2018, n = 50,182 Base: Australians 14+ with superannuation. 12 months to August 2008, n=30,302 and 12 months to August 2018, n=30,669

Retirement balance

Growing account balances are a good sign, but it’s the retirement balance that really counts.  Today, the typical woman can expect to retire with $177,000 in her superannuation balance, whereas the typical male will have $309,000 – a $132,000 disparity.

Superannuation Balance of Intending Retirees Male vs Female


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Australians 14+, 12 months to April 2008, n = 52,051 and 12 months to April 2018, n = 50,067. Base: Australians 25+ intending to retire in next 12 months.12 months to April 2008, n = 516 and 12 months to April 2018, n = 427.

That may not be cause for celebration, but if we look at younger fund members, the numbers are encouraging. Women aged 14 to 34 have approximately 86% of the super balance of their male counterparts. And the greatest improvement in the super gap is for women aged 35 to 49.

Average Female Superannuation as Proportion of Male Average by Age

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia). Australians 14+, 12 months to August 2008, n= 52,420 and 12 months to August 2018, n=50,182. Base: Female Australians 14+ with superannuation. 12 months to August 2008, n=14,964 and 12 months to August 2018, n=14,832


How do you bridge a $132,000 gap?

Superannuation is a long term investment, upwards of 40 years. While wage discrepancies, maternity leave, and part time work are very real obstacles, there are still things you can do to maximize your balance.

If you’ve already used the Move the Dial tool, here’s a selection of actions you can take:


Try Equip’s MyFuture Calculator

With the MyFuture Calculator, you’ll gain a better insight into what your retirement will look like, how long your savings will last you, but most importantly what changes you can make to boost your super and shape your retirement.


Consolidate accounts
If you’ve changed jobs or had career swaps through your working life, chances are you have multiple super accounts open. By consolidating your accounts into a single account you’ll be saving on account keeping fees and you'll also have a better insight into your overall super savings. Log in to your account to search and consolidate your super [select 'Find my Super' from the drop down menu].


Make additional contributions
While your default super contributions are a good starting point, making additional contributions is a quick way to boost the balance of your super account. Salary sacrifice means you pay some of your pre-tax salary into your super account. As well as boosting your super balance, salary sacrificing can potentially reduce your tax rate. All of that adds up, and the sooner you start, the greater the benefits. Learn more here.


Check your investment options
Personalising your investment options, and choosing a more growth driven strategy, can make a big difference to your future balance. You can learn more about your investment choices here, and track the associated returns here. Update your option by logging into your account. 


Government co-contributions
The Federal Government’s co-contribution scheme is designed to help lower income earners boost their retirement savings in superannuation. Every dollar in after-tax contributions you make into your super (up to $500) will be matched by a 50% co-contribution from the government. If you're eligible, all you have to do is file your annual tax return. Learn more here.


Equip believes in equality for all, and has been helping women Move the Dial on superannuation savings since 2015. Speak to one of our financial planners to learn more about your options, and what you can do to improve your super balance, and enjoy a better retirement.


How does your super compare? Try Equip's Move the Dial tool now. 


Equipsuper Pty Ltd (“Equip”) (ABN 64 006 964 049, AFSL 246383) is the Trustee of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund (“the Fund”) (ABN 33 813 823 017, MySuper Authorisation 33813823017672). This document provides general information only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs, so should not be taken as personal advice. Before making a decision to invest in the Fund, you should read the appropriate Equip Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Equip is licensed to provide intrafund personal and general superannuation advice under its AFSL. Member Advisors are employees of Equip. For more information about the remuneration of Equip and its employees, please refer to the Equipsuper Financial Services Guide (FSG).

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