Consumer confidence in WA is finally on the mend after rising for the first time in three consecutive quarters, according to the latest survey from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia.
The September quarter WA Super-CCI Survey of Consumer Confidence found 54 per cent of respondents expected the WA economy to improve or remain unchanged in the next 12 months, up from 49 per cent last quarter.
In the short-term, the number of respondents expecting the economy to improve rose from three per cent to five per cent. About 57 per cent thought the economy would remain stable.
CCI Chief Executive Officer Deidre Willmott said the modest increases were very welcome news, as it indicated that WA consumers were catching up with the increased optimism already present in the business community.
“Any increase in confidence is cause for celebration – restoring consumers’ faith in the economy was never going to happen overnight,” Willmott says.
“While these increases are modest, they signal a return to optimism for consumers that we haven’t seen for three consecutive quarters – it is a sign that the green shoots of recovery are finally returning to the WA economy.”
The survey also asked consumers for their views on technological disruption and predictions for their future financial position.
Worryingly, WA women reported feeling significantly less secure in their superannuation then men – with 35 per cent of men confident, compared with24 per cent of women. Men were also more likely to believe they would retire mortgage-free.
“The gender pay gap in WA is still the highest in the country and the survey results suggest this is adding to long-term anxieties for the female workforce,” Willmott says.
“Women often accumulate less superannuation than men due to family commitments, but WA men still earn (on average) 24.9 per cent more than WA women – the state’s gender pay gap is miles ahead of the national average of 17.3 per cent; this is simply unacceptable.
“Across the board, 61 per cent of respondents were not confident they would have sufficient superannuation when they retired – a worrying statistic and a significant problem that must be addressed.”
WA Super Chairman Tim Shanahan said WA Super’s engagement and education programs have resulted in more than 40 per cent of active members mang voluntary contributions, which will have a massive impact on their level of comfort in retirement.
“We know that simply relying on employer contributions into superannuation is unlikely to provide a sufficient nest egg for most people, so we’re not really surprised that over 60 per cent of respondents were not confident about saving enough – this is why it is so important for working West Australians to take an interest in their super,” he says.