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Gender gap for KiwiSaver balances worsens, trend more apparent in younger age-groups

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The gender gap on KiwiSaver balances has grown, with men having on average 25 percent more money in their KiwiSaver balance at the end of last year.

The KiwiSaver gender gap increased 5 percent in a year, according to new research from the Retirement Commission.

The commission studied more than three million KiwiSaver members, with the research representing approximately 94 percent of the total member base.

An age breakdown of the research participants showed the gender gap in every age group category widened, but larger gaps opened in younger age groups.

The gap for 18-25 year olds increased 7 percent, to 23 percent and the gap for 31-35 year olds widened 8 percent, to 27 percent.

Te Ara Ahunga Ora director of policy and research Dr Suzy Morrissey said the research showed some of the challenges women faced when trying to grow their KiwiSaver balances.

“Analysis of the widening gap does not appear to be explained by fund choice, withdrawal, or suspension behaviour of women compared to men,” she said.

“The widening of the gap at younger ages is particularly concerning because of compounding interest.

“Money invested earlier will have time to grow, but if women’s balances are lower than men’s in younger life, they will likely remain lower.”

For the first time, the research compared member balances across age and gender by fund type, finding more than a third of all funds under management were assets invested in growth funds, although this allocation decreased with age.

Men had more assets invested in growth funds, while women had more assets invested in conservative funds, Morrissey said.

“This difference is smaller at younger ages and more pronounced for those nearing age 65, and over 65.

“Analysis suggests that women are not necessarily more risk averse, as both men and women tend to be invested in lower risk funds if they have small balances and have more growth assets if they have larger balances.

“Women’s lower balances (on average) may lead them to be less risk-seeking.”

Morrissey said the widest gaps of average balances were still between men and women in their 40s and 50s, which likely reflected the combined impact of the gender pay gap, time out of paid work, and the higher percentage of women than men who work part-time.

Source: RNZ

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Business

Toxic culture major factor in employees deciding on ‘rage-applying’ for new jobs

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Two out of three professional job applicants admit to applying for numerous roles out of frustration with their current employer, in what the industry calls rage-applying.

The term rage-applying occurs when workers react to a bad day at work by firing out multiple applications for a new job.

A survey of more than 2000 professional job applicants by recruitment specialist Robert Walters indicates more than half of them wanted to leave a toxic work culture, with 20 percent citing a lack of work life balance while 13 percent were concerned about an unmanageable workload.

Just 3 percent said a disagreement with management led to them rage-applying in the past six months.

The survey also found there was a 112 percent surge in job applications following Wellington public sector cuts.

Robert Walters ANZ chief executive Shay Peters said the increase raised queries as to whether individuals were applying for positions out of frustration and apprehension, rather than genuine interest in the advertised roles.

“It’s rather intriguing to observe that this surge in job applications is not primarily motivated by factors such as salary or career advancement. Rather, it seems to stem from the work environment and policies, which lie entirely within the employer’s control.

“Identifying toxic workplace cultures isn’t always a simple task, yet it can profoundly affect the mental wellbeing, morale, and creativity of employees.”

He said the company’s research found an inspiring company culture was the number one thing that attracted professionals to a job advert – ahead of flexible work and enhanced benefits packages.

“As we embrace the arrival of more Gen Z individuals into the workforce, it’s crucial for employers to recognise that the priorities of employees are evolving.

“While salaries may have once reigned supreme as the primary driving force, Gen Z is considerably more concerned about the office culture and working policies.”

VIA RNZ

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Movement of pilot’s seat a focus of probe into LATAM Boeing flight, report says

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The movement of a flight deck seat is a key focus of the probe into a sudden mid-air dive by a LATAM Airlines Boeing 787 plane that left more than 50 people injured, aviation industry publication the Air Current reported on Wednesday.

The plane, which was heading from Sydney to Auckland on Monday, dropped abruptly before stabilising, causing those on board to be thrown about the cabin.

Based on the available information it was understood the seat movement was “pilot induced, not intentionally,” the report said, citing a senior airline safety official.

“The seat movement caused the nose down” angle of the aircraft, the publication said, citing another anonymous source who added the possibility of an electrical short was also under review.

Boeing is expected to release a message to 787 operators regarding the incident, the Air Current reported, in a sign a fleet-wide issue could be involved though it said the specific topic was not known to the publication.

Boeing declined to comment on the report, instead referring Reuters to the investigating agencies.

Chile’s aviation regulator, which is leading the probe given it involves a Chilean airline flying in international airspace, said the investigation “just got underway” and its investigators had arrived in New Zealand.

LATAM said it “continues to work in coordination with the authorities to support the investigation” and said it was not appropriate to comment on speculation that has circulated.

LATAM is based in Chile and the flight, which had 263 passengers and nine crew members, was due to continue on to Santiago after stopping in Auckland.

The cause of the flight’s apparent sudden change in trajectory has not yet been explained. Safety experts say most airplane accidents are caused by a cocktail of factors that need to be thoroughly investigated.

New Zealand’s Transport Accident Investigation Commission said on Tuesday it was seizing the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder of the flight, which would provide information about the conversations between the pilots and the plane’s movement.

– This story was first published by Reuters
VIA RNZ

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Household costs forecast to rise $70 a week on average next year – ASB report

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Household costs are expected to rise $70 a week on average next year as high interest rates and prices keep the pressure on budgets, an ASB Bank report estimates.

The increase was a reflection of slowing inflation compared to the $115 higher costs expected for this year, and about half the increase at the height of the pandemic.

Senior economist Mark Smith said the increase would be a stretch for many households, but there had been a surprising resilience among consumers.

“The inflation outlook remains inherently uncertain, but we expect the pace of cost increases to progressively slow, both in absolute terms and relative to household incomes.”

Inflation slowed to 5.6 percent in the three months ended September from a peak of 7.4 percent the year before, and the Reserve Bank has forecast it to fall back within its 1-3 percent target band by the end of next year.

Smith said those who had taken out mortgages in recent years and were now faced with renewing at higher rates would feel the squeeze on their finances the most, which would be added to by rising costs of services such as rates and insurance.

“Cost movements will be uneven, with slowing increases for consumer goods, but for still chunky rises in debt servicing and other consumer services.”

Savings and buffers

Smith said households had fared better than expected because of savings and buffers built up in the pandemic.

“Kiwi households have built up a circa $30b nest egg of savings since the Covid-19 pandemic. The amount of saving is being eroded as growth in household expenditures has outpaced income growth. Still, households in aggregate are still saving.”

However, an easing labour market would add further pressure to some households.

Smith said the concern for the Reserve Bank would be if consumers believed they were past the worst of the hard times, and felt confident enough to pick up their spending.

Ongoing consumer restraint and increased consumer resistance to paying higher prices are key pre-requisites to cooling domestically generated inflation.

Hence the tough talk by the RBNZ and the warning that the OCR [official cash rate] may have to go up if inflation fails to sufficiently cool.”

VIA RNZ

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