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QSuper recently hosted the inaugural Flex, Finance & Your Future event on social and financial outcomes for women in the workplace, with some striking survey findings from attendees.
But balancing the advantages of flexible work against a possible reduction in earning capacity and a smaller retirement nest egg for women remains challenging.
More than 120 attendees gathered to discuss strategies to manage this balance for women in the workplace at the inaugural Flex, Finance & Your Future event hosted by QSuper. This event is part of QSuper’s ongoing activity to empower and achieve social and financial outcomes for women.
QSuper hosted the event in partnership with the Queensland Government and Australian start-ups Financy and Jobs Shared.
Feedback provided by attendees at the event determined that what women were looking for from their employer was clear: the capacity to provide flex work and financial wellbeing.
Of women who attended the event, 97% said they thought flexible work was the future and should be embraced by more businesses and government.2
Almost one in four (23%) said they didn’t currently have a flexible work arrangement, but would like to.2
Further, women were polled at the event as to whether they knew how much they needed to retire comfortably. The results showed about half were unsure.2
QSuper Senior Relationship Manager, Kate Bushell said the event was to inspire and educate women on opportunities and key financial considerations when working flexibly.
Empowering women to improve their social and financial outcomes could make a difference to financial wellbeing in the Queensland community, she said.
QSuper looks after the retirement savings of more than 360,000 women, many of whom have had career breaks and/or use flexible working conditions.
QSuper membership data shows that women continue to retire with a lower average superannuation balance than their male counterparts – yet women typically live longer than men.3
“We’re committed to supporting women and helping them succeed,” said Bushell.
Part of this commitment has been QSuper’s Women in Business community, established to host events that connect, inspire, educate, and develop women.
“For women to have support and encouragement from other women in their network is helpful and inspiring,” Bushell said.
Women’s Agenda publishing editor, Angela Priestley, led the panel of expert speakers at Flex, Finance & Your Future across topics including:
Founder of the Australian start-up Jobs Shared, Simone McLaughlin, said women were increasingly pursuing careers that would give them flexible conditions, both before and after having kids.
Founder of Financy, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, said, “Often flexible work isn’t regarded as the most attractive pathway to achieving a successful career, but that idea is changing as more women and Australian businesses disrupt the status quo and embrace changing work patterns."
QSuper is working hard to fill gaps in knowledge, encouraging all members to engage with QSuper’s financial education programs and tailored financial advice.
Super is only one part of your finances. If you’re considering tax strategies, estate planning and other investments, your QSuper membership gives you access to personal, tailored advice when you need it.
All QSuper members have access to financial advice, to get all your money working as hard as you do.4
Find out about our advice options or call 1800 643 893 to get in touch with a financial adviser.
To support your plan for your future, QSuper members also have access to seminars.
Seminars help you with information including:
Founder of Financy, Bianca Hartge-Hazelman, explains how employers can empower their female employees.5
You comment that flexible work is often seen as something for those who aren’t as serious about hitting the top of their careers. What can employers do to help change that view?
Rewarding employees based on outcomes, rather than whether they work full or part-time, is key to changing perceptions. Once employees see that working flexibly can allow them to gain recognition for work well done, then they are more likely to see it as a viable pathway to achieving better pay and progress.
How can technology help employers to increase the flex of a role without decreasing the responsibilities?
The internet and laptops, and indeed smartphones, are all you really need to do many jobs these days. By having systems in place that allow employees to send work via the web and do phone conferences rather than face-to-face all the time assists flex working.
How would today’s technology and emerging attitudes have helped you in your career 10 years ago?
In my case, they would have made me even more productive. We used a lot of tapes for interviews, so being able to send digital files today is a huge advantage in time, effort, and productivity.
Communication is key, of course. What are your top tips for staff who would like to approach their employer to discuss flexibility?
The more you talk about it and the more you talk about how it will benefit the company and actually work, the better. Sometimes employers need to know the benefits and solutions if they are to change their perception around flex work. So, get talking and provide examples of workplaces that do it well.
And your top tips for employers on having that positive discussion?
A happy workplace increases productivity. If you can offer flex as an incentive for job outcomes, then you are more likely to have positive discussions and outcomes.
1 Australian Bureau of Statistics; 16 November 2017; 6202.0; Labour Force Survey, Australia, October 2017.
2 Job Shared; Flex, Finance & Your Future poll results; https://www.jobsshared.com.au/events/ Accessed 30 October 2017.
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics; 19 August 2017 4125.0; Gender Indicators, Australia, September 2017.
4 Advice fees may apply.
5 These are the individual views of the author, unless advised otherwise. The information has been put together as general information only and you should seek professional advice before making a decision.
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