SuperWomen Initiative Survey 2023 results

Himashini Weeraratne
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The Grant Thornton SuperWomen Initiative was born out of a commitment to listen to the challenges that women working in superannuation are facing and find solutions to assist breaking down some of the barriers.

Australia’s superannuation sector is one of the largest holders of pension fund assets globally, with approximately $3.5t invested in superannuation assets. Exposure to fluctuations in domestic and international markets has impacted investments in recent years, which has fuelled industry consolidation.

As a sector that many look to for their future financial security, being agile and responsive to constant regulatory, policy, and legislative reform, with successive governments altering taxation and contributions policies, is critical for those who work in superannuation.

In September, we launched a survey to gather important insights from the people of Australia’s superannuation industry about their personal observations and lived experiences within the sector. 

Below is a summary of our findings.

The 2023 SuperWomen Initiative revealed:

1. Positive perception of change 

Respondents of all genders (female, non-binary, self-identifying & male) acknowledge the importance of increasing female representation, indicating a shared belief in the significance of this issue.

Over 50 per cent of respondents expressed a favourable outlook, suggesting that change is well underway in the industry. 

2. Difference in workforce experience 

The data analysis reveals that there are notable differences in experiences between males and females working within the superannuation industry.

A significant portion of respondents believed that barriers need to be addressed to continue increasing gender diversity in the industry.

Notably, the results suggest that professional development opportunities, mentoring and more leader advocacy are rich areas of focus to build on to ensure continued momentum and change.

3. Women were more engaged

More women engaged in the survey than men. Notably more women than men gave anecdotal feedback in long-form answers, which reinforced the notion that there are varied gender-related experiences within these professional contexts that affect women in a way not all men are aware of.

Women also actively participated by providing a greater number of opinions and suggestions. 

Overall data analysis revealed that differences in experiences between genders within the superannuation industry is evident. 

We plan to continue to address this point in activities and in considering the unique challenges and opportunities that women face in the workforce.

The top four challenges for women

  1. Quality and adequacy of leadership programs offered and available
  2. The degree and style of mentoring opportunities
  3. Lack of assistance/information with navigating the future of work and flexible working arrangements, juggling both personal and professional life
  4. Limited access to/and types of networking with peer groups 

Next steps

We plan to use the insights from our survey to better serve all professionals within the superannuation industry. These insights will help shape the strategy, content, future events and workshops we run to support current and future industry leaders.

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