WGEA: Future Group Statement

Written by:

Future Group

Future Group is on a mission to lead the movement to use the power of money to invest, advocate and campaign for a future worth retiring into. 

We have spent the last decade providing ethical investment products to people who want to invest their superannuation in line with their values. We have a vision that all retirement savings will be invested to drive positive social and environmental impact. 

Exceeding $3.5 trillion, Australia’s superannuation sector is the 4th largest pool of pension capital in the world. And in the workplace women+ retire with 23.1% less super than men. The reasons for this retirement gap are known: women are less likely to make the senior ranks, are more likely to take time off for caring duties, they are also more likely to return to part-time work.

With that vision in mind; Future Group supports five superannuation brands, Future Super, smartMonday, the recently acquired Guild Super, Child Care Super and Verve Super. We provide a range of services including investment management and investment consulting. 

Today the Group supports over 385,000 members with over $14.5 billion in funds under management and advice across five brands, making the Group one of the top 15 largest superannuation groups by the number of members served.

We use business as a force for good - both, in terms of how we run our business, and how we take care of our team.

We design and build policies from the ground up to reduce systematic inequality in our workplace. As we navigate our newly found growth we are translating our purpose and culture into progressive policies and practices that are aimed to close the gender pay gap.

Our journey from start-up to scale-up:

2019 was the year we started analysing our gender pay data (both overall and by seniority), setting targets and sharing progress against these targets. This approach has allowed us to transform our business, improving the diversity of the workplace and the engagement of women+ employees. 

Fast forward to 2024, and we acquired three superannuation businesses in two years, doubling our headcount. With growth comes challenges, one being the widening gender pay gap as the organisation undergoes multiple acquisitions, inheriting employees and their salaries. 

Where our numbers sit today

Undergoing acquisitions has contributed to the volatility of our median gender pay gap however we are pleased that concentrated effort is reducing this gap. 

October 2021: Future Group documented a median gender pay gap of 19.71%. 

July 2022: Following our acquisition of the superannuation platform smartMonday, our pay gap almost doubled to 36.8%.  

March 2023: We submitted our first WGEA Gender Equality report with a median gender pay gap of 33.8%. 

2023 remuneration review: After a remuneration review and before any more acquisitions, we were able to address differences in salaries and narrowed the gap to 26.43%.

Today 2024: After the final three acquisitions, Future Group’s median gender pay gap is 23.95% with an Executive Leadership Team having 80% women+ representation. 

Transforming our business for equality: 

While our numbers are far from perfect we are determined to make progress every day in our operations to close the gender pay gap at Future Group.

What we have achieved to date:

  • Finding opportunities in closing the superannuation gap:

    • Paying team members with a base salary of less than $120K additional superannuation above the required Superannuation Guarantee (SG).

    • Calculating SG payments based on full-time salaries for carers who return to work in a part-time role due to their caring responsibilities.

    • Providing superannuation payments for up to 12 months per instance of parental leave.

  • Progressive policies with purpose:

    • Introduced a menstrual and menopausal leave policy providing employees who are unable to work due to menstruation and menopause additional leave (separate from sick leave and without the requirement of a medical certificate). We were one of the first companies in Australia to implement this policy. The policy is open source and we encourage other businesses to adopt it*.

  • Remuneration that drives progress from the highest base salary to the lowest base salary:

    • Implemented a transparent and supportive remuneration process to ensure accountability on our side - 

      • Employees are provided with optional training around discussing salaries with their managers.

      • Throughout the remuneration review process, employees have access to the lowest, average and highest base salaries and percentage salary increases across the business, broken down by employee levels and seniority.

    • We have introduced a remuneration principle, targeting the ratio of their highest base salary to the lowest base salary to be 5:1.

  • De-identified hiring: Adopted Applied, a de-identified recruitment platform to reduce the risk of bias in the recruitment process and improve the diversity of our workforce. 

  • Employee Resource Group: Created “SuperGenders”, an employee resource group for women+. This group provides a safe and supportive environment for women+ and enables advocacy for gender equality in their workplace. 

Since reporting to WGEA, we have made further strides in the pursuit of closing the gender pay gap.

Actions and strategies we have in play: 

  • Keeping accountability and the gender pay gap front of mind: We are committed to implementing Equidi, a real-time gender pay gap analysis tool. The tool will enable us to assess and measure any gender pay gap and keep the gender pay gap at the forefront of the organisation’s decision-making process. As part of our reporting obligations to WGEA we will consider the impact of a proposed salary across the entire organisation on a like-for-like role basis, department basis, WGEA level basis and the ultimate impact on Future Group’s overall gender pay gap and composition.

  • Parental leave policy uplift: At Future Group we recognise that parenting, the journey to it plus the journey back to work -  is complex and not a one-size-fits-all. Our policy provides: 

    • Equal paid parental leave benefits regardless of gender or carer status, with greater flexibility and no minimum service requirements 

    • Increased parental leave entitlements from14 to 20 weeks

    • Increased flexibility in how and when leave can be taken.

    • Foster and kinship care leave

    • Paid pre-adoption, pre-fostering, pre-surrogacy and fertility leave

    • Surrogate leave

    • Additional leave for special circumstances

    • Career coaching sessions before, during and after parental leave

    • Flexible return to work benefits such as a four-day-work week with the same pay

    • Access to additional financial support

    • Other benefits such as continued accrual of annual leave and sick/carer’s leave entitlements for up to 12 months of each instance of parental leave

Acting Executive Director of People; Natalie Firth says; “Our closing of the Gender Pay Gap at Future Group is achievable through ongoing work and recognition. Gender equality is everyone's business: it's up to all business leaders to be part of the change, to promote and improve workplace gender equality. Your employees and your investors will thank you for the progress you have made over time.”

*Denotes This policy may not be suitable for your organisation. Please obtain appropriate advice and consider the specifics when determining suitability for your organisation.

Statement issued by Future Group: 16 February 2024