Pan-European study on women and finance:
"Strengthen financial sovereignty and counteract poverty in old age"

  • Women in Austria still earn less than men. Gender pay gap and part-time work mean that women are more affected by poverty in old age
  • According to a pan-European UniCredit study, women are less willing to take risks when investing and are more inclined to leave financial decisions to their partners 
  • UniCredit Bank Austria is making a sustainable contribution to making financial education accessible to women 
  • The second "Girls go Finance" day will take place on 17 June 2024 to raise awareness of finance among young girls

Women in Austria earn 18.8 percent less gross per hour than men, putting the gender pay gap well above the EU average. The part-time rate for women was 50.7 percent in 2022, compared to just 12.6 percent for men. If we only look at women and men with children under the age of 15, the differences are even greater, with the proportion of women working part-time rising enormously to 73.8 percent and the proportion of men falling to 7.9 percent (age group 25 to 49, excluding people on parental leave). This leads to lower pensions and can consequently lead to poverty in old age.

The results of a recent UniCredit study on women and finance highlight the different approaches of men and women when it comes to financial issues. The survey was conducted in 9 European countries in which UniCredit operates: Austria, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania. A total of around 6,000 people between the ages of 18 and 65 were surveyed (3,400 women and 2,600 men).

On the one hand, it is clear that women have a low willingness to take risks - 76 percent of the women surveyed stated that they do not want to take any risks when investing - but on the other hand, many women are afraid that they will not be able to maintain their current standard of living in old age (69 pe cent of women say this).

Marion Morales Albiñana-Rosner, Head of Wealth Management & Private Banking, therefore emphasises: "Our aim is to strengthen women's financial sovereignty and counteract poverty in old age. Women tend to opt for low-risk investments with low potential returns. The gender pay gap and part-time work suggest that women are less able to put money aside for the future. If this money then also shrinks, the financial future is at risk. With ‘Girls Go Finance’, we have launched an initiative to make financial education accessible to girls and to support them at a young age to take control of their financial affairs in an active and self-determined way."

The UniCredit study: Large gender gap in the choice of financial products
The most striking gender-specific difference when choosing a bank is that women are more likely to make a decision based on positive recommendations from friends and relatives and to rely on personal advice in the branch. A large gender gap is particularly evident in the choice of financial products: While current accounts are used by men and women to roughly the same extent, the use of investment products is male-dominated, with a difference of 30 percent. Women therefore choose lower-risk financial products and voluntarily forego the opportunity of attractive returns.

Financial decisions for the whole family
Men tend to make financial decisions for the whole family. The reasons why the majority of women surveyed relinquish this task are low self-confidence with regard to their own financial education and traditional role models regarding the division of responsibilities within the family. 43 percent of men in Europe say they make the financial decisions for the whole family, compared to only 33 percent of women. Although the situation with regard to financial decisions in Austria is more balanced than the European average, there is also a male predominance here: 40 percent of men make financial decisions for the whole family, but only 35 percent of women.

Women are more risk-averse
When it comes to financial decisions, 83 percent of women in Austria say that they are absolutely confident that they can take care of their own money matters; this figure is even higher than for men (81 percent). However, around half of the women and men surveyed stated that women tend to be less independent when it comes to financial decisions. If we compare the willingness to invest in European countries, women in Austria are more willing to invest, but they often choose products with lower risk, and savings accounts are particularly popular. Women are much more cautious than men when it comes to investment products such as investment funds, bonds and shares. 

Marion Morales Albiñana-Rosner: "Saving alone cannot preserve the value of savings in the long term. Despite higher interest rates, the average financial assets of households in Austria have suffered a real loss of almost 150 billion euros in the last ten years, primarily due to the high inflation of the last two years. In the last two years, even with investments in securities and high inflation, it was difficult to generate a positive real return due to market developments. However, households that invested in securities over the last ten years were almost able to maintain the real value of their assets despite the inflation shock. In contrast, assets invested in savings deposits lost around a third of their real value due to inflation."

First-class advice for the right pension provision
The findings are therefore clear: the combination of the gender pay gap, part-time work and a lack of
financial education can have a negative impact on the financial situation of women: 
If they do not plan ahead, there is a risk that women will be faced with a considerable pension gap.

UniCredit Bank Austria would like to encourage women to take a closer look at important financial issues. Highly qualified advice can be used to find individually tailored pension and asset accumulation solutions. 

"Girls go Finance": workshops on the topic of finance
"The earlier financial education is started, the sooner the course for a financially independent life can be set that's why we are organizing the "Girls go Finance" day on 17 June 2024 in cooperation with Teach for Austria for the second time, especially for schoolgirls from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds," emphasises Marion Morales Albiñana-Rosner. 

The workshops cover a range of topics relating to finance, such as financial independence, the gender pay gap, women's approach to finance and investments, how a bank account works, what an exchange rate is, how to recognise phishing emails and the difference between gross and net.

UniCredit Bank Austria Media Relations
Matthias Raftl, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 52809
E-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at