By Cassandra Hinze
The latest Financy Women’s Index released today shows the number of women in full time employment has hit an all-time high of 3.23 million.
Despite this, women’s financial health still has a long way to go to reach that of men.
The gender pay gap is 14.1% across all industries and is substantially worse in the financial services sector at 26.9%.
The gender gap in superannuation also remains a big issue, with average super balances for women 34% less than the average for men.
Financial advice can help women bridge these gaps by getting them thinking more about their financial goals and advising them on specific strategies to boost their wealth, such as making catch-up contributions to super. The earlier women can put in place a financial strategy to reach their goals the more time the power of compounding has to work on their savings.
A university study for the Financial Services Council on the value of advice1 found 58% of individuals who had a financial adviser felt secure about their financial futures, compared with only 32% of those who were not advised.
But who will women turn to for that advice?
At AMP we believe that exciting opportunities are opening up for more women to become financial advisers. This is driven by the growing need for advice from both men and women as our financial circumstances become increasingly complex and as an evolving industry offers clearer and more structured career paths for advisers. The new education standards for advisers that came into force this year have driven a proliferation of new degrees and diplomas for those looking to get a start in the industry.
Financial advice can be a great career choice for women. Building strong, empathetic relationships with clients is one of the key skills needed by a financial adviser and running your own advice practice offers workplace flexibility.
AMP wants to encourage more women to become financial advisers. Our new Adviser Pathways program is a structured education and development pathway for financial planning graduates and career changers which offers paid employment while new advisers go through their training and the opportunity to secure a permanent role in the AMP adviser network.
If well over half of university graduates are women, we should be aiming for a much more even gender balance among new entrants to the industry.
AMP runs networking events for women advisers in our network and our annual adviser awards have been an important opportunity for top female advisers to be publicly recognised. While women are still underrepresented among the ranks of advisers, at only about 20%, they take out a greater share of the awards. The annual AMP University Challenge also attracts a large number of female university students keen to test their financial planning skills in a national competition.
If we want more women to get financial advice and secure their financial future we need the advice industry to look more like the Australian community.
Cassandra Hinze is General Manager of AMP Advice
 Financial Services Council (2016). Funding Our Future: Perceptions of the Value of Financial Planning Advice