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6361.0 - Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation, Australia, Apr to Jul 2007 (Re-issue)  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 02/06/2009  Reissue
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


OVERVIEW

Most Australians spend a substantial part of their lives in the workforce. Changes in the labour market and the employment conditions that people experience have the potential to affect many people, and also help shape our economy and society. There is ongoing interest in the different types of employment, and the characteristics and quality of these types of employment. Increasingly, there is interest in how people balance their work and caring responsibilities, particularly the working arrangements that they are using, or would like to use, to help them manage this balance.

The ageing of the population also has the potential to have a large impact on Australian society and the economy of the future. Some of the discussion about the implications of the ageing population has focused on people's ability to support themselves in retirement, in particular through superannuation. There are also issues around a potential diminishing labour force, as the ageing population retires from work. One response may be for older workers to remain in the labour force longer than has traditionally been the case. Information about the plans that people have for retirement, about people who have already retired, and about people who have previously retired and returned to work, provides insights into the timing and extent of older workers exiting the labour market, as well as reasons why people retire from the labour force and what might attract them back.

The 2007 Survey of Employment Arrangements, Retirement and Superannuation (SEARS 2007) provides a range of information relating to employment arrangements, work and caring, retirement and retirement intentions, and superannuation. Key findings from this survey are discussed in the following summary.


EMPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS

Employment types

The statistics in this publication relating to employment arrangements refer to the arrangements of the employed population aged 15 years and over, excluding contributing family workers.

Figure 1 below shows the employment type framework that is used to describe people's working arrangements. In this publication, employed people are classified to employment type categories on the basis of their main job, that is, the job in which they usually work the most hours. Most of the employment-related statistics presented in this publication relate to the main job unless otherwise indicated.

Of 10.3 million employed people (excluding contributing family workers):

  • 60% were employees (excluding OMIEs) with paid leave entitlements;
  • 20% were employees (excluding OMIEs) with no paid leave entitlements;
  • 7% were owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs); and
  • 12% were owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs).






Age and sex

Employees1 with paid leave entitlements represented the largest single employment type in all age groups, except those aged 65 years and over. Of employed people2 aged 25-34 years, 70% had paid leave entitlements. The proportion of employed people2 with paid leave declined for older age groups, in part reflecting the higher proportions of people working in their own business, (with 30% of employed people2 aged 55-64 years working in their own business, rising to 56% for employed people2 aged 65-74 years).

The largest age group of employees1 without paid leave entitlements were people aged 15-24 years (40%). Of all employed people2 in this age group, almost equal proportions were employees1 with and without paid leave entitlements (49% and 48% respectively).

Employed women2 were more likely than employed men2 to be working as employees1 without paid leave entitlements: 25% of employed women2 compared with 16% of employed men2.

S1: Employed persons(a), Employment type-by age
Graph: S1: Employed persons(a), Employment type–by age



Working patterns

36% of employed people2 usually worked some hours at night, that is, between 7pm and 7am. While 34% of employees1 usually worked between 7pm and 7am, 51% of owner managers of incorporated enterprises (OMIEs) usually worked some hours at night, and 41% of owner managers of unincorporated enterprises (OMUEs) did so.

The majority of employed people2 (58%) worked five days a week and 18% worked six or seven days a week. 35% of all employed people2 worked both weekdays and weekends. Of owner managers, 53% usually worked a combination of weekdays and weekends, and 41% worked six or seven days a week. In comparison, 31% of employees1 worked both weekdays and weekends and 12% worked six or seven days a week. Employees1 with paid leave entitlements were least likely to work both weekdays and weekends (27%).

Of employees1 without paid leave entitlements, 69% usually worked less than 35 hours a week, and 52% worked less than 16 hours a week. For employees1 with paid leave entitlements, 83% worked full-time hours, that is, 35 hours or more a week. Among OMIEs, 49% usually worked 49 hours or more a week, while for OMUEs this proportion was 34%, and for employees1 with paid leave entitlements it was 18%.


Working from home

In 2007, 3.2 million employed people2 (31%) worked some hours from home, with most (81%) working from home for 15 hours or less per week. Owner managers were more likely (73%) to work some or all hours from home than either employees1 with paid leave entitlements (24%) or employees1 without paid leave entitlements (9%). Only 5% of employed people2 working from home usually worked all hours from home.


Extra hours

Employees1 with paid leave entitlements were more likely to usually work extra hours (53%) than those without paid leave entitlements (22%). A higher proportion of employees1 who worked on a fixed-term contract worked extra hours (52%) than those who did not work on a fixed-term contract (45%). Male employees1 were also more likely to work extra hours than female employees1 (52% and 38% respectively).

Of the 3.8 million people who usually worked extra hours, 45% usually worked extra hours on up to five days a month. A further 36% worked extra hours on 21 days or more a month.

S2: Employees(a) with and without paid leave entitlements who worked extra hours, by frequency extra hours worked
Graph: S2: Employees(a) with and without paid leave entitlements who worked extra hours, by frequency extra hours worked



Preferred working hours

When taking into consideration the impact that either more or fewer hours of work would have on their pay, 65% of employed people2 were satisfied with the number of hours that they were already working, and 21% preferred to work fewer hours than they currently worked. Of those wanting to work less, 36% said it was either for social reasons, or to engage in recreational activities or have more free time.

Employees1 with paid leave entitlements were more likely to be satisfied with their working hours than other employment types, with 67% preferring to work the same hours they currently worked, compared with 64% for employees1 without paid leave entitlements and 61% for owner managers. Employees1 without paid leave entitlements had the highest proportion (29%) of people wanting to work more hours than they currently worked. Owner managers had the highest proportion (29%) of people wanting to work fewer hours than they currently worked.

A higher proportion of men than women said that they would prefer to work fewer hours, 22% compared with 19%. Similar proportions of men and women wanted to work more hours (13% and 15%). Most men and women who wanted more hours of work said it was because they wanted more income.

S3: Preferred number of hours, by employment type
Graph: S3: Preferred number of hours, by employment type



Time stress

Most employed men2 (76%) and women2 (85%) said that they always, often or sometimes felt rushed or pressed for time. For employed women2 who felt rushed or pressed for time at least sometimes, the main reason was trying to balance work and family responsibilities (38%). For employed men2 who felt rushed or pressed for time at least sometimes, the main reasons were balancing work and family responsibilities and the pressure of work or study (28% and 27% respectively).

Employees1 without paid leave entitlements were less likely (73%) to feel rushed or pressed for time at least sometimes, while for employees1 with paid leave entitlements the proportion was 81%, and higher again for owner managers (84%).

S4: Proportion of employed persons(a) who feel rushed or pressed for time, Reasons for feeling rushed or pressed for time-by sex
Graph: S4: Proportion of employed persons(a) who feel rushed or pressed for time, Reasons for feeling rushed or pressed for time–by sex



Industry

The more significant employing industries for employees1 with paid leave entitlements were health care and social assistance (13%), manufacturing (13%) and education and training and retail trade (both 10%). For those employees1 with paid leave entitlements who worked on a fixed-term contract, the education and training industry was the largest industry (28%).

The more significant employing industries for employees1 without paid leave entitlements were accommodation and food services (17%), retail trade (21%), and health care and social assistance (9%).

The construction industry employed 19% of all owner managers, and of these, 40% worked on a contract. 12% of owner managers worked in professional, scientific and technical services, and 11% worked in agriculture, forestry and fishing.


Aspects of job stability

Of employees1 with paid leave entitlements in 2007, 46% had been in their current job for five years or more, compared with 15% for employees1 without paid leave entitlements. While 45% of employees1 without paid leave entitlements had been in their current job for less than a year, 74% of all employees1 without paid leave entitlements expected to be working for the same employer in 12 months time.

Other aspects of job stability for employees1 with and without paid leave entitlements were:
  • 47% of employees1 without paid leave entitlements had earnings (excluding overtime) that varied from pay period to pay period, compared with 16% of those with paid leave entitlements;
  • 88% of employees1 without paid leave entitlements self identified as casual, compared with 3% of those with paid leave entitlements; and
  • 35% of employees1 without paid leave entitlements worked in a job where the hours varied weekly, compared with 17% of employees1 with paid leave entitlements.

Employees1 without paid leave entitlements were more likely to have less stable working arrangements than people in other employment types, nevertheless 53% had earnings (excluding overtime) that did not vary from pay period to pay period, and 65% had hours that did not vary from week to week.

A higher proportion of female employees1 were without paid leave entitlements than were male employees1 (29% compared with 22%). Female employees1 without paid leave entitlements were also more likely than male employees1 without paid leave entitlements to identify as casual (91% and 85% respectively). There were only slight differences in the proportions of female and male employees1 without paid leave entitlements that had hours that varied from week to week (37% and 33%), and earnings (excluding overtime) that varied from pay period to pay period (48% compared with 45%).

S5: Employees(a), aspects of job stability, by employment type and sex
Graph: S5: Employees(a), aspects of job stability, by employment type and sex



WORK AND FAMILY BALANCE

Provision of care

6.3 million carers, or 38% of people aged 15 years and over, provided care to another adult or a child aged under 15 years (including care provided to their own children) in the week prior to the survey interview. 1.8 million of these carers lived in households without children under 15 years of age.

People aged 35-44 years were much more likely to provide care (72%) than people in other age ranges, followed by people aged 25-34 years (48% provided care). 12% of people aged 75 years and over, and 17% of those aged 15-24 years provided care.

A higher proportion of women than men provided care (43% and 34% respectively). This pattern is reflected for all age ranges except the 45-54 year age range, where a similar proportion of men and women provided care (43% and 42% respectively).

S6: All persons who provided care, by age and sex
Graph: S6: All persons who provided care, by age and sex


Of people who provided care, 78% of men and 85% of women always, often or sometimes felt rushed or pressed for time. For people who did not provide care, 60% of men and 65% of women felt rushed or pressed for time.


Employed carers

Of people who provided care in the week prior to the survey, 67% were employed (41% of all employed people provided care), 30% were not in the labour force and 3% were unemployed. A smaller proportion of employed men than employed women provided care (39% and 43% respectively). Women not in the labour force were twice as likely to provide care as men not in the labour force (42% and 21%).

49% of owner managers provided care, compared with 39% of employees1. A higher proportion of employees1 with paid leave entitlements than employees1 without paid leave entitlements provided care (40% and 35% respectively).

S7: Employed persons(a) who provided care, by employment type and sex
Graph: S7: Employed persons(a) who provided care, by employment type and sex


The proportion of female employees1 providing care was 41% for both those with and those without paid leave entitlements. More than half of employed women who provided care (59%) usually worked less than 35 hours a week, compared with 40% of employed women who did not provide care. Employed women who provided care were also more likely to work less than five days a week (44%), compared with employed women who did not provide care (30%). Conversely, employed men who provided care were much more likely to both usually work 35 or more hours a week (88%) and usually work five or more days a week (88%).

The majority of employed people who provided care looked after only one or two people (81%). Most employed carers were providing care to children aged under 15 years, reflecting the 75% of employed carers who had children aged under 15 years. The next most commonly cared for age group was 75 years or over. The main reasons that employed people were providing care to adults were long-term health condition or disability, and frail/aged care.


Working arrangements used to care

The working arrangements discussed below and used by employees1 to facilitate their care provision include: paid leave, such as annual and carer's leave; unpaid leave; flexible working hours; rostered days off; working from home; and informal arrangements with employers. For more detail, refer to the Glossary.

Of the 3.2 million employees1 who provided care to someone in the week prior to the survey, 15% used working arrangements to facilitate that care provision. The most common working arrangement used to care for someone was flexible working hours. For carers with children aged under 15 years, flexible working hours were used by 38% of male employees1 using any work arrangement, and 31% of female employees1 using any work arrangement. Unpaid leave was the next most common working arrangement, used by 21% of female employees1 and 11% of male employees1 using any work arrangement, who had children aged under 15 years. Among employees1 with children aged under 15 years who used work arrangements for caring, informal arrangements with employers were used by 12% of men and 15% of women.

For employees1 taking some form of paid leave to provide care, annual leave and carers leave were the most common forms of paid leave. Of men and women with children aged under 15 years who used work arrangements to provide care, the proportions accessing annual and carers leave were similar, with 12% of men and 13% of women accessing annual leave and 11% of both men and women accessing carers leave.

S8: Employees(a) with children aged under 15 years who used working arrangements to care, by selected working arrangements used and sex
Graph: S8: Employees(a) with children aged under 15 years who used working arrangements to care, by selected working arrangements used and sex


The majority (85%) of employees1 who cared for someone in the week prior to the survey did not use any working arrangements to facilitate that care provision.


Family child care arrangements

Of families with children aged under 15 years, those most likely to use formal or informal child care in the reference week were employed lone parents (69%) and couples where both parents were employed (59%). Families using the least amount of child care were couple families where neither parent was employed (26%), and couple families where one parent was employed (35%). For these family types that did use child care, it was primarily informal.

The most commonly used informal child care providers used by parents in the week prior to the survey were the grandparents of the children being cared for, while long day care centres were the most commonly used formal care setting. For employed lone parents using care, the most commonly used care providers were the child's grandparents (used by 29% of these families), siblings of the child (11%), and the child's other parent not living in the household (17%).


RETIREMENT AND RETIREMENT INTENTIONS

From SEARS 2007 it is estimated that there were 7.7 million people aged over 45 years who were: currently employed (3.9 million); currently unemployed (0.1 million); retired and had no intention of looking for or taking up full-time or part-time work in the future (3.1 million); not currently in the labour force, nor retired, but intending to look for and/or take up work in the future (0.3 million); not currently in the labour force and had never worked for 2 weeks or more (0.2 million); or people for whom retirement status could not be determined (0.2 million).

There were more men than women aged 45 years and over in the labour force. Conversely, there were more women who had retired than men, reflecting the greater proportion of women in the older age groups, and the tendency of women to retire earlier than men.

In 2007, 61% of men aged 45 years and over, who had at some time worked for two weeks or more and for whom a retirement status was determined, were in the labour force, 37% had retired, and 3% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired. In contrast, 48% of women aged 45 years and over, who had at some time worked for two weeks or more and for whom a retirement status was determined, were in the labour force, another 48% had retired, and 4% were not in the labour force but had not yet retired.

There were 4% of women aged 45 years and over who had never worked for two weeks or more, and of these 53% were aged 70 years and over.

S9: Labour force status and retirement status, by sex
Graph: S9: Labour force status and retirement status, by sex



Retired from the labour force

There were 3.1 million people aged 45 years and over who were retired from the labour force, comprising 1.3 million men and 1.8 million women. Half of all retired people were aged 70 years and over (54% of retired men and 49% of retired women).


Age at retirement

It is important to note that age at retirement as presented in this publication only refers to 'surviving' retirees aged 45 years or over in 2007. Therefore, the distribution of age at retirement in this population is not representative of the age at which all people retire. For example, based on Australian life expectancy, a person who retired aged 40 years in 1982 (aged 65 years in 2007) would more likely be alive to participate in this survey than a person who retired aged 65 years in 1982 (who would be aged 90 years if still alive in 2007). The effect will be more pronounced for estimates presented in relation to people who retired a long time ago, but will have some effect on all estimates, particularly as 38% of the retired population included in this publication retired more than 20 years ago.

The average age at retirement for people aged 45 years and over was 52 years (58 years for men and 47 years for women). 28% of retired men in 2007 had retired before the age of 55 years, while 60% of retired women had retired before the age of 55 years. Half of retired men in 2007 had retired aged 55-64 years.

S10: Persons retired from the labour force, Age at retirement (years)-by sex
Graph: S10: Persons retired from the labour force, Age at retirement (years)–by sex



Reasons for retirement

Of the 1.9 million retired people in 2007 who had worked in the last 20 years, the most commonly reported main reason for retiring was personal health or physical abilities (32%). While this was the predominant reason for retirement for both men and women, a higher proportion of men retired for this reason than women (38% of retired men compared with 25% of retired women). Aside from personal health, the other commonly reported main reasons that men retired included being retrenched or made redundant (10%) and reaching the eligibility age for an age (or service) pension (8%). The other main reasons that women retired were caring responsibilities (15%) and to spend more time with family/retirement of partner (13%).

S11: Persons aged 45 years and over who have retired from the labour force, Selected main reasons for retirement-by sex
Graph: S11: Persons aged 45 years and over who have retired from the labour force, Selected main reasons for retirement–by sex



Main sources of income in retirement

The predominant source of personal retirement income for both men and women was government pensions and allowances (for 65% of retired men and 67% of retired women), regardless of how long ago they retired. The longer people had been retired, the more likely they were to have government pensions as their principal source of income. Government pensions and allowances were the main source of income for 45% of people who had retired less than five years ago, 62% of people who had retired five to nine years ago, and 73% of people who retired 20 or more years ago.

People who had retired less than five years ago were less likely to have government pensions and allowances as their main source of personal income (45% of both men and women in this category). For 23% of men and 16% of women who had retired less than five years ago, income from superannuation, an annuity or an allocated pension was their main source of personal income. This compares with 13% of men and 3% of women who had retired 20 or more years ago.

18% of women who had recently retired had no (or negative) personal income. This proportion declined for women who had been retired for longer. Of women who had retired 20 or more years ago, 7% had no (or negative) personal income.

S12: Persons aged 45 years and over who have retired from the labour force, Main source of personal income-by time since retirement
Graph: S12: Persons aged 45 years and over who have retired from the labour force, Main source of personal income–by time since retirement



Retirement intentions

Of the 3.9 million employed people aged 45 years and over, 85% intend to eventually retire from the labour force; the remainder do not intend to retire.

71% of people who intend to retire were employed full-time. Of these, 32% intend to continue with full-time work until retiring from the labour force, 48% intend to retire from full-time work and work part-time before retiring from the labour force, and the remainder did not know whether they intend to take up part-time work before retirement. The transition plans of full-time employed men and women who intend to retire were similar, with 33% of men and 29% of women intending to continue with full-time work before retiring, and 47% of men and 51% of women intending to work part-time before they retire.


Plans to phase in retirement

Of the 748,000 people who intend to continue with full time work until they retire, 69% planned to remain with their current employer with no further plans to phase in retirement. A further 18% planned to remain with their current employer but with less demanding duties. The average ages at which people planned to implement these changes were 63 years and 58 years respectively.

There were few people who intend to change employer before retirement. About 3% of people who intend to work full-time until they retire planned to change employer with no further plans to phase in retirement. A further 3% planned to change employer and move to a completely different line of work. The average age at which people intend to introduce these changes was 53 years.

There were 1.1 million people who intend to leave full-time work and work part-time before retiring. Of these, nearly two thirds (64%) planned to change to part-time work but continue with their current employer. The average age at which they intend to make this transition was 60 years. A further 12% intend to work part-time, change employer and change to a completely different line of work, and 5% intend to change employer and work part-time with no other plans to phase in retirement. The average age at which people intend to implement these transitions to retirement was 59 years.


Age intends to retire

Of all employed people who intend to retire:
  • 24% intend to retire aged 70 years or over (30% of men and 17% of women);
  • 40% intend to retire aged 65-69 years (45% of men and 34% of women);
  • 24% intend to retire aged 60-64 years (18% of men and 31% of women);
  • 9% intend to retire aged 55-59 years (5% of men and 13% of women);
  • 1% intend to retire aged 45-54 years (less than 1% of men and 2% of women); and
  • 2% were unable to provide an intended age of retirement.


Main factors influencing decision about when to retire

For those in the labour force who intend to retire, the main factors influencing their decision about when to retire were: financial security (43% of men and 36% of women); personal health and physical abilities (19% of both men and women); and reaching the eligibility age for an age (or service) pension (8% of both men and women).

S13: Persons aged 45 years and over who intend to retire from the labour force, Selected factors influencing decisions about when to retire-by sex
Graph: S13: Persons aged 45 years and over who intend to retire from the labour force, Selected factors influencing decisions about when to retire–by sex



Main expected source of income at retirement

Of all people aged 45 years and over who intend to retire from the labour force, 43% reported that their expected main source of income at retirement would be income from superannuation, an annuity, or an allocated pension. A higher proportion of men than women who intend to retire thought this would be their main source of income (49% and 36% respectively).

The second most commonly reported expected main source of income was a government pension or allowance, with nearly one quarter (24%) of people who intend to retire expecting this would be their main source (23% of men and 27% of women).

20% of women and 10% of men who intend to retire from the labour force did not expect to have any personal income when they retired, but expected to live off savings, assets or their partner's income. This was particularly the case for those women who intend to retire between the ages of 45 and 54 years, with 51% of this group expecting to have no personal income source when they retired.

S14: Persons aged 45 years and over who intend to retire from the labour force, Selected main expected source of income at retirement-by sex
Graph: S14: Persons aged 45 years and over who intend to retire from the labour force, Selected main expected source of income at retirement–by sex



Employed but previously retired

There were 310,200 people who were currently employed in 2007 having re-entered the work force following an earlier retirement. Financial need was the most common main reason for retired people to return to work (36% of men and 42% of women who had previously retired). 32% of men who had previously retired returned to work because they were bored or needed something to do, compared with 14% of women who returned to work for this reason.

Men were almost twice as likely as women to return from retirement to a job with duties that were less demanding than their last job before retirement (36% and 19% respectively). Women were only slightly more likely than men to return to a job with more flexibility or more control over the hours they worked (26% and 19%). Overall, about one fifth of people who returned to work (22%) had the same working arrangements as their last job before previously retiring.


SUPERANNUATION

Superannuation is an investment designed to assist people to save for their retirement. In this publication, people aged 15 years and over are divided into two broad populations: those that have superannuation coverage, and those that do not.


Has superannuation coverage

In this publication a person is regarded as having superannuation coverage if they:
  • have superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase - that is, they have one or more superannuation accounts from which income is not yet being drawn, further disaggregated by whether contributions are currently being made or not; or
  • have superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase (with or without contributions) and are drawing on superannuation - that is, they have one or more superannuation accounts from which income is not yet being drawn, and are also currently receiving a superannuation pension or annuity and/or have received a superannuation lump sum within the last 4 years; or
  • have no superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase but are drawing on superannuation - that is, they are currently receiving a superannuation pension or annuity and/or have received a superannuation lump sum within the last 4 years.


No superannuation coverage

In this publication a person is regarded as having no superannuation coverage if they:
  • have no superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase; and
  • while they may have received a superannuation pension/annuity at some time in the past, are no longer receiving it and/or have received a lump sum from superannuation in the past but not within the last 4 years.


Superannuation framework
Diagram: This flowchart specifies the breakdown of superannuation coverage for SEARS 2007


Superannuation coverage

In 2007, 66% of people aged 15 years and over had accounts in the accumulation phase, 7% of people were currently drawing on superannuation (including 2.5% who also had accounts in the accumulation phase), and 29% had no superannuation coverage. 76% of men were covered by superannuation compared to 66% of women.

Corresponding with the introduction of the compulsory superannuation guarantee in 1992, a higher proportion of people aged 25-54 years had superannuation coverage (87%) than people aged 55 years and over (50%). Only 41% of women over 55 years of age were covered by superannuation compared to 60% of men.

The proportion of people with superannuation coverage was higher than the proportion with no coverage in all age groups, except for people aged 65 years and over. Just over half (54%) of people aged 65-69 years and 79% of people aged 70 years and over had no coverage. 24% of men and 34% of women had no superannuation coverage. The proportions of men and women aged 70 years and over without superannuation coverage were significantly higher than the average (69% and 87% respectively).

S15: Persons with no superannuation coverage, by age group (years) and sex
Graph: S15: Persons with no superannuation coverage, by age group (years) and sex


58% of unemployed people had some superannuation coverage, compared with 91% of employed people. The median total superannuation balance for unemployed people with superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase was $3,500, compared with $25,000 for employed people.

The Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportion of people (82%) with superannuation coverage, followed by Northern Territory (77%), while New South Wales and Tasmania had the lowest (68%). New South Wales had the highest proportion of employed people without superannuation coverage (11%). Across Australia, women were more likely than men to have no superannuation coverage.


Accumulation phase

Overall, 70% of men and 62% of women aged 15 years and over had accounts in the accumulation phase. 86% of people with accounts in the accumulation phase were employed, and 72% had wages and salaries as their principal source of personal income.

While the mean superannuation balance for all people aged 15 years and over with accounts in the accumulation phase was $71,000, the median superannuation balance was substantially lower at $24,000. This reflects that a relatively higher proportion of people with accounts in the accumulation phase have low superannuation balances. 29% of people with accounts in the accumulation phase had superannuation balances of less than $10,000.

S16: Persons with superannuation in the accumulation phase, Total superannuation balance-by age
Graph: S16: Persons with superannuation in the accumulation phase, Total superannuation balance–by age


Superannuation balances are correlated with age, reflecting the pattern of accumulation over a person's working life. 49% of people aged below 35 years of age had superannuation balances of less than $10,000, and only 1% of them had superannuation balances above $100,000. On the other hand, 38% of people aged 55 years and over had superannuation balances above $100,000.

Of people with superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase, 62% were making pre-tax contributions only (including employer and/or salary sacrificed contributions), 5% were making post-tax contributions only (including personal and/or spouse contributions) and 14% were making both pre- and post-tax contributions. The proportion of people making salary sacrificed contributions increased with gross personal weekly income and age. Of those who stated their contributions, 28% of all people with a gross weekly income of $2,000 or more made salary sacrificed contributions, as did 15% of people aged 45-54 years.

Most (95%) employed people aged 15-24 years with superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase did not make personal contributions to superannuation, and 38% of these stated that either 'cost' or they 'can not afford to' were the reasons for not making personal contributions.


Employed persons

In total, 90% of employed people had superannuation accounts in the accumulation phase. 64% of employed people made pre-tax contributions only, 4% made post-tax contributions only and 15% made both pre- and post-tax contributions. More labourers, sales workers, and technicians and trades workers were not making any contributions to their accounts than was the case for other occupations.

A higher proportion of employed people making only post-tax contributions were working in construction (17%), whereas higher proportions of those making only pre-tax contributions were working in manufacturing (12%) and retail trade (12%). Those working in public administration and safety (16%), health care and social assistance (14%), and education and training (14%) tended to have both pre- and post-tax contributions. Employed people in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry were less likely to have superannuation accounts with current contributions than any other industry (44%).

The majority of employed people who received employer contributions of less than $40 a week were women (61%). In contrast, 66% of those who received employer contributions of more than $100 a week were men.

One-fifth of employed persons in the private sector did not make any contributions to superannuation accounts. A further 64% of this sector only made pre-tax contributions, and 11% made both pre- and post-tax contributions. Of employed persons in the public sector, 59% only made pre-tax contributions, and 35% made both pre- and post tax contributions.

On average, both male and female employees1, 2 had contributions (of all types) at around 10% of their gross personal weekly income into their superannuation. Public sector employees1, 2 had total contributions of 13% of their gross personal weekly income into their superannuation, compared with 10% for private sector employees1, 2.


Retired people

57% of people who had retired had never received a lump sum payment or pension/annuity from superannuation. 20% of retired people had received a lump sum payment only, and another 11% had received a lump sum payment as well as a superannuation pension/annuity.

A significant proportion of retired people who had received lump sum payments in the last 4 years had used it to purchase or pay off a home or make home improvements (22%), or had invested the money elsewhere (20%).

23% of retired people had received or were currently receiving a superannuation pension or annuity. The proportion of retired women who had received or were currently receiving a superannuation pension or annuity was half that of men (16% of women compared with 32% of men).

Around 60% of retired people received gross personal weekly income from all sources of less than $300 per week. However, nearly two thirds (62%) of those who had received or were currently receiving income from a superannuation pension or annuity received income in the range of $1-$799 per week.


Drawing on superannuation

Only 7% of people aged 15 years and over were currently drawing from their superannuation. Of those drawing from superannuation, 82% were aged 55 years and over. A higher proportion of men (59%) were drawing from superannuation compared with women (41%). 28% of those drawing from superannuation were currently employed.

54% of those drawing from superannuation received gross personal weekly income from all sources of less than $600. 31% of those drawing from superannuation reported their principal source of personal income as income from a superannuation pension or annuity, and another 29% reported government pensions and allowances as their principal source of personal income.


Changes from 2000 to 2007

As SEAS 2000 only collected information for people aged 15 to 69 years, the SEARS 2007 population in the following analysis has also been restricted to this age range.

Diagram: This flowchart shows the superannuation coverage for SEARS 2007 restricted to the same population as SEAS 2000

The proportion of people aged 15-69 years with superannuation coverage increased from 68% in 2000 to 77% in 2007. The proportion of women with superannuation coverage increased by 12 percentage points, compared with an increase of 6 percentage points for men.

The proportion of people accumulating superannuation also increased from 66% in 2000 to 74% in 2007, with the proportion of men increasing by 6 percentage points and the proportion of the women increasing by 11 percentage points.

In 2000, 10% of people had superannuation balances of more than $100,000 (in 2007 dollar terms), and 39% had less than $10,000.

Comparable data for 2007 shows that superannuation investment is increasing, with 15% of people having superannuation balances of more than $100,000. The proportion of women with superannuation balances of more than $100,000 increased by 6 percentage points and the proportion of the men with superannuation balances in this range increased by 6 percentage points. The proportion of people with superannuation balances of less than $10,000 decreased to 29%.

S17: Persons aged 15-69 years with superannuation in the accumulation phase, Total superannuation balance: 2000 and 2007
Graph: S17: Persons aged 15–69 years with superannuation in the accumulation phase, Total superannuation balance: 2000 and 2007



END NOTES

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1. Excluding owner managers of incorporated enterprises

2. Excluding contributing family workers


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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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