Each quarter I spend a good fortnight bunkered down in economic statistics and what’s becoming clear is that women’s financial health could be a lot better.
Australian women are making better choices to improve their financial wellbeing, but still too many are struggling week-to-week caught in habits that are difficult to break from.
On the fringes we are seeing increased growth in women selecting educational pathways linked to higher paying industries.
This, combined with increased full-time work participation, is lifting pay packets and building retirement savings.
But there is still an overwhelming concentration of women working in arguably underpaid and undervalued roles. Plus many are faced with little to no retirement savings.
To better understand where you sit, and what’s trending in terms of educational pathways and higher paying industries here’s three things you can take from reading the Women’s Index.
- Talk about the key findings of the Women’s Index. Print out or just read the Index. This very action may form the basis of some good discussion and even debate with friends, family or work colleagues around where you sit financially and the choices you are making that affect your financial wellbeing.
- Make a list. Identify the areas where you are making progress and where you may be falling behind, or could just be doing better.
- Take action. Think about, or discuss with family or friends, the opportunities and actions that can be taken to improve you financial wellbeing. Then set your own path forward and start taking action.
A few of the key findings that stood out to me related to the Health Care and Social Assistance sector, which recorded the biggest gender pay gap increase of any sector, up 9.6 per cent to 25 per cent in May compared to 22.8 per cent in November, according to the Financy Women’s Index.
This is almost double the national gender pay gap which stands at 14.6 per cent – now at a 20 year low.
The sector is very much affected by women being under represented in higher paying senior management roles despite dominating the sector in lower income positions.
Still Health Care and Social Assistance courses appeal to many women and the work that flows from it is absolutely critical to a healthy economy,
The average five year growth in enrolments in health related courses rose by 28 per cent in the latest data to November 2016.
This was the third fastest growth behind Information Technology and Engineering and Related Technologies – BOTH of which have strong links to the highest paying sectors for women at the moment.