How employers can help women in pharmacy retire more comfortably

pharmacy assistant pharmacist

Women constitute the majority of Australian pharmacists, and an even larger number of pharmacy assistants…

By Greg Everett, General Manager GuildSuper

As you’re likely to be aware, women constitute the majority of Australian pharmacists, and an even larger number of pharmacy assistants. Similarly, the majority of GuildSuper’s members are women, at 86%.

The sad reality is that the majority of Australian women won’t have enough money to retire. And, in conducting research into the profiles of our own membership base, we uncovered that many women working in pharmacy will find themselves in the position of outliving their super.

According to Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) recommendations, a healthy super balance at retirement age is $545,000 or more. Yet research has revealed many Australians won’t have anywhere near this amount — and the group most at risk of falling short are women.

This is because of the unique set of challenges they face when it comes to making headway with retirement savings; they tend to take time off from paid work to have children or care for family and are more likely to work in part-time or lower income roles.

Our research into the typical profiles of our members, revealed two common women relevant to pharmacy — ‘Claire’ and ‘Elaine’.

Claire is our typical member. She’s in her early thirties, married with one to two children, and is likely a pharmacy assistant. She is unlikely to have personal savings, and there’s a 50% chance she’ll spend at least 4 years out of the workforce to care for family. Her super balance is around $18,000 – roughly $16,000 under the average balance for her age. And by the time she retires at 67, she’ll have around $124,000. Because of this, Claire is at great risk of outliving her super.

Elaine is Claire’s employer. She’s middle-aged, owns or manages a pharmacy, and has around a dozen staff on her payroll. Elaine is time-poor, and her priority is maintaining the running of her business. She cares about her staff, however doesn’t believe she has the time she needs to think about super. Plus, she’s confused and overwhelmed by the changing obligations placed on employers.

While Claire’s future financial prospects seem bleak, there are ways in which Elaine can assist in improving them. The first step is to get Claire to recognise that super isn’t a problem for tomorrow. If Claire can become more engaged with and knowledgeable about her super today, she has the potential to secure herself a much more comfortable retirement. 

So how can Elaine do this? Really it can be as simple as setting Claire on the right trajectory. This can take the form of encouraging her to speak with her super fund or a licensed financial adviser about her super choices and what might be the most appropriate solution for her. Similarly, Elaine can reach out to her default fund to have a client relationship manager hold a general information session in her workplace for Claire and other staff.

By simply raising the topic of super and emphasising its importance, Elaine has the ability to set the tone of Claire’s relationship with her retirement savings and equip her with the information she needs to make informed decisions.   

Of course, Elaine has the option of contributing more than the standard 9.5% Super Guarantee (SG) and it’s to be celebrated if she does. Add to this, it can serve as a value-add benefit for employee recruitment and engagement.

Amidst the chaos of daily life, work, and family matters, contributing to super might seem like a problem for the future, but it’s actually one of the smartest investments your staff can make to safeguard their future. And pharmacy employers can be powerful influencers when it comes to making sure staff are educated and empowered to make the most of their super, and consequently, their retirement.

GuildSuper is committed to helping members achieve a comfortable retirement.  For further information about how GuildSuper can help you or your employees manage their superannuation, contact 1300 361 477 to speak with your dedicated GuildSuper Relationship Manager.

This document contains general advice only and doesn’t take into account what you currently have, want and need for your personal circumstances. It is important for you to consider these matters and read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you make decisions about a superannuation product.

Guild Trustee Services Pty Limited ABN 84 068 826 728 AFSL No. 233815 RSEL No. L0000611 as Trustee of the Guild Retirement Fund ABN 22 599 554 834 (which includes GuildSuper and Child Care Super).

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