Women less wealthy than men when retiring – WTW report

Study shows wide variation among Asia-Pacific markets

Women less wealthy than men when retiring – WTW report

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Women in Asia-Pacific are expected to accumulate just over three-quarters (76%) of men’s wealth levels upon retirement, a study by WTW revealed.

The Asia-Pacific finding is just two percentage points above the global average of 74%.

The study noted that the gender wealth gap at retirement increases with job seniority. Globally, women in senior expert and leadership roles were found to have less than two-thirds (62%) of the accumulated wealth that their male counterparts enjoyed at retirement. For mid-level professional and technical roles, the gap was 69%, and it narrowed to 89% for frontline operational roles.

Within Asia-Pacific, the study found considerable differences in expected wealth accumulation at retirement and progress made towards gender wealth equity across the region. Across the 12 markets in the region, the gender wealth gaps ranged from 64% in India to 90% in South Korea.

The following Asian markets had a higher wealth index at retirement for women than the global average: China (78%), Japan (82%), Philippines (79%) and Singapore (79%).

In India, which had the highest gender wealth gap in the region, one of the contributing factors was the significant gender pay gaps in the country, which exceed the global average, especially for professional and technical roles. Opportunities for women in leadership positions are also limited, with only 3% of women in the workforce occupying senior positions, WTW said. Having childcare responsibilities at a younger age also had significant financial impacts, along with the culture of having long-term financial decisions generally rest with men and lower financial literacy for working women.

“The results from our global analysis are startling. It shows that there is a gender wealth gap consistently across the 39 countries that we studied,” said Manjit Basi, senior director, integrated and global solutions, WTW. “The primary drivers contributing to gender-based wealth disparity include gender pay gaps and delayed career trajectories. Additionally, gaps in financial literacy and family caregiving responsibilities outside the workplace influence women’s participation in paid employment and therefore their ability to build wealth.”

“Given the variety of cultures, traditions and differences in the relative prosperity and social equality across the region, it’s unsurprising that the results are mixed,” said Clare Muhiudeen, head of Asia, WTW. “However, wealth equity for women in senior expert and leadership roles remains a particular challenge for Asia. It’s imperative that activities around gender diversity, equity and inclusion broaden to look at economic wealth at the end of women’s working careers. Pay is a fundamental factor that underlies the gender wealth gap and while addressing the gender pay gap will partially close the wealth gap, it won’t eliminate it entirely.”

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