'That has a huge bearing on their dignity in retirement'
Australian women are retiring with 30% less than their male counterparts, a case rooted from wage inequality that they face once they enter the workforce, according to Aware Super CEO Deanne Stewart.
Stewart said many women come out of high school or university into lower-paid jobs, with not a lot of women entering male-dominated jobs such as professional services, technology, or STEM-based roles.
"So it starts there, in roles where they're not getting paid as well," Stewart told Sky News in an interview.
Another problem, according to Stewart, is the ongoing wage gap for men and women working the same roles, which is at 13.3% based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
To add to these struggles, women are also handling 70% of caring responsibilities in society, and when they come back to part-time work, they find that childcare costs are expensive, according to Stewart.
"From a retirement perspective, all of that — your superannuation is based on your wage over that period of time — so by the time we want to get to retirement, they're retiring on more than 30% less than their male counterparts," Stewart said told Sky News.
"That has a huge bearing on their dignity in retirement."
Addressing the problem
Stewart said encouraging women to enter more STEM-based industries and getting men into more caring-type roles could be a step to narrowing the pay gap.
More transparency to the gender pay gap in the workplace would also certainly help, according to the CEO.
Australia recently introduced a legislation that will mandate employers with over 100 employees to have their gender pay gaps published on the Workplace Gender Equality Agency website.
"We believe that all companies should publish their gender pay gap, and then find it and fix it. So that all of the workforce is aware there is a gender pay gap and what actions their employer is taking so there are two important things," Stewart said.
In terms of superannuation, Stewart urged the government and employers to pay super guarantees on parental leave assistance, including unpaid leave, because "that's where the huge gap starts to increase."