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Women and super

closing the gap

Published March 2022

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Content Team
9 min read
Updated 14 Mar 2024
  • Super 101

Women face a significant super gap when they reach retirement age, as their median super balance is about 25% lower than men's.¹ This is mainly due to women taking career breaks, or working part-time, to care for children.

Why do women retire with less super than men?

A study by Monash Business School, the University of WA and the University of Warwick found that the driving factor behind the gender super gap is contributions2, with women receiving lower super contributions than men throughout their life. Why is this?

Women earn less

While there has been some momentum in closing the pay gap, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) the average total remuneration gender pay gap was 21.7% in 2023. It means on average, for every $1 men earn in Australia, women earn 78 cents. The average annual pay difference between men and women is a gap of $26,393.3  

Catching up is difficult

Taking time off work means women miss out on receiving regular super contributions, which can make it even harder to close the super gap. Divorced women are even more disadvantaged; research found that divorced women with children had 68% less super than married mothers, and 37% less super than divorced dads.4 

As Dr Carly Moulang from Monash Business School’s Department of Accounting says, “even if women return to work in their 40s after having children, they cannot make up early salary inequity”.5  This means that women are more dependent than men on the government Age Pension. And, what’s more, women have an average longer life span than men6, so their retirement savings need to stretch further. 

How much do you need for retirement?

According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), a single woman would need $595,000 for a comfortable retirement⁶, which would enable an older, healthy retiree to have a good standard of living that includes regular leisure activities, some domestic and occasional international travel, and top private health insurance.

Try our Retirement Projection Calculator 

Use our Retirement Projection Calculator to see if you’re on track for a comfortable retirement. Answer a few simple questions and our calculator can estimate how much super you could have at retirement. It can also help you make informed decisions about your super. 

What can you do to close the gap?

It’s never too late – or too early – to take some simple steps so you can be in control of your retirement savings and build the retirement you want and deserve.

1. Get to know your super‍

It might be easy to just ‘set and forget’ your super but taking a quick look at your payslip and your Hostplus account could help bridge the gap. Here’s some quick tips: 

  • check your payslip to make sure you’re getting the right amount of super paid by your employer. The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) rate is 11% of your gross salary. This will rise to 11.5% on 1 July 2024,  
  • log into member online to check if you have insurance cover with your super. You can also see if you’re paying for the right cover.  

2. Consolidate your super

Consider consolidating your super into one account. Why? By consolidating your accounts, you could reduce the fees you pay which can affect your account balance at retirement.  

Before you consolidate your super accounts into one it’s important to:

  • compare the fees and performance of each fund 
  • check other features of each fund like access to financial advice or member online access  
  • check whether you’ll lose any benefits or be charged a fee for closing an account
  • remember if you do close a super account, you’ll lose any insurance attached to that account

You may find it beneficial to obtain advice from a licensed financial adviser. Explore your advice options

3. Review your investment options with Hostplus

When your Hostplus account is first set up, your contributions to your super are invested in the Balanced (MySuper) option unless you tell us otherwise. 

You can choose from our wide range of  investment options with different levels of risk and return targets.

The way your super is invested can make a big difference to your nest egg by the time you’re ready to retire.

When deciding which option is right for you, it’s important to carefully consider factors such as your financial objectives, risk appetite, age and investment time frame. You may find it beneficial to obtain advice from a licensed financial adviser. Explore your advice options  

4. Consider making extra contributions

Your employer contributions are important and there’s also the option to contribute extra.

No matter how large or small, extra contributions can make a big difference over time. Starting at any age could help build your balance with the benefit of compound returns. Find out more about compound returns

Examples of extra super contributions include: 

  • After-tax contributions  
    These are also known as non-concessional contributions. You can make extra payments to your super using your take-home pay or savings in your bank account. How much and how often you make these contributions is up to you, but annual limits apply
  • Spouse contributions and splitting 
    Tax offsets may apply for a spouse who contributes super on behalf of a low-income earning or non-working spouse. Your spouse can also divert some of their super contributions to your super account. Eligibility terms apply. 
  • Low Income Superannuation Tax Offset (LISTO) 
    Low-income earners may be eligible to receive a refund into their super account of the tax paid on their eligible super contributions, up to a cap of $500. 
  • Government co-contributions 
    If you’re a low or middle-income earner and make after-tax super contributions, you may be eligible to receive a co-contribution into your super from the government of up to $500.  
  • Salary sacrifice 
    Contributions to your super from your before-tax salary are taxed at 15%, lower than most people’s personal tax rate. Limits apply. 

5. Nominate a beneficiary

Nominating a beneficiary can help your super, pension or any insurance benefits go to the right person, or people, after you pass away. Learn more about beneficiaries here

6. Expecting a baby?

Hostplus members can apply for premium-free insurance cover during parental leave.7 Learn more about the parental leave premium waiver here

Your money. Your super. Your Hostplus.

Hostplus can work with you to ensure you’re always making the most of your super. From insurance through to investment choices, transition-to-retirement strategies and nominating beneficiaries, we can help you achieve the retirement you want.

Stay connected with your super

We know how important it is to have easy access to your account. That’s why you get 24/7 online access. Check your balance, update your details and even change your investment strategy, all from our secure Member Online portal and Hostplus app.

Financial advice and planning

Wherever you are in life, the right financial advice can give you the confidence, guidance, and clarity you need to help set up, and meet, your financial goals.

At Hostplus, we offer a range of options to ensure you get the right level of advice to suit you8:

We’re here to help.

If you have any questions, call us on 1300 467 875, 8am – 8pm AEST /AEDT, Monday to Friday or contact us online.

The information in this article is correct as at time of publication.

1. Source:

2. Source:

3. Source:

4. Source: WGEA, Gender pay gap fact sheet, August 2021

5. Source: Laurie Brown, ‘Divorce: For richer, for poorer’, AMP.NATSEM Income and Wealth Report

6. Source: ASFA Retirement Standard December 2023,

7. Grandfathered Intrust Super PayGuard and Club Super SalarySafe insurance arrangements are not eligible for the parental leave premium waiver.

8. Hostplus has engaged Industry Fund Services Limited (IFS) ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232514 to facilitate the provision of personal financial advice to members of Hostplus. Advice is provided by financial planners who are Authorised Representatives of IFS. Fees may apply for personal financial advice; for further information about the cost of personal advice, you can speak with your financial planner or visit our website Information to help you decide whether you want to use personal financial advice services being offered is set out in the relevant IFS Financial Services Guide, a copy of which is available from your financial planner. Hostplus has engaged Link Advice Pty Ltd ABN 36105 811 836, ASFL 258145 to facilitate the provision of limited personal financial advice to members of Hostplus via the web-based product SuperAdviser.